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The Seventh Sunday after Epiphany – February 20, 2022

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The Seventh Sunday after Epiphany – February 20, 2022

Jesus continues to overthrow the status quo. In these verses concerning loving enemies, blessing your cursers, passivity in the face of violence, aiding the thief, aiding the beggar, and refusing repayment (cf. vs. 27-30), Jesus sets the kingdom of God over against the kingdom of this world. This world operates with three simple caveats: 1) take what you can get; 2) expect reward and punishment; and 3) coercion through force and fraud. The world may operate like this but not the Lord’s kingdom (cf. Lk. 22:27-29). The Lord’s kingdom operates on love, but in this world, we must be content with love’s ugly twin, the Law.

While we wait for the open manifestation of the kingdom of God… while we wait in faith and hope… Jesus is the only manifestation of the kingdom of God given us in these days of our baptism. While we wait… while the flesh still adheres… we make do with the Law. It’s not love, but is the closest approximation we receive in this world broken by sin. Jesus loved spontaneously for he was God’s love sent into the world (Jn. 3:16). For us, in the flesh… for us, in this sin-broken world… we have the Law which may point to Christ but can never deliver him. The Law can demand our imitation of Christ, but it delivers only the considered actions of our obedience, or not. The Law does not ever produce the spontaneous love of Jesus Christ.

Nonetheless, the Law is necessary for the ordering of our lives together in the sinful chaos of this world. The Offices you hold—mother or father, son or daughter, employer or employee, citizen or official—are established under the Law. These Offices must judge the enemies of order (vs 27). These Offices must condemn those who act out their hate (vs 27). These Offices cannot pacify the Lawbreakers while being passive themselves (vs 29). The kingdom of God operates on mercy and love, but this world’s kingdom requires ordering beneath the Law… while we wait.

Table Talk: Discuss the paradox of enforcing the Law while acting in love.
Pray: Heavenly Father forgive my acts of the Law rather than love. Amen

Luke 6:27-38 ESV

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. 32 If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

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