Southpoint News – November 4, 2018
A maxim of the Greco-Roman world was “Love for friends, hate for enemies.” Its our natural go to place as humans: tit for tat thinking, all over again. Reciprocity: Love those who love you, hate those who hate you.
Jesus, however, grabbed that table and turned it upside down: “Look, there is nothing unusual about loving your neighbors. After all, they are your friends. There is nothing unusual about praying for loved ones. Of course you want to help them. There is nothing unusual about greeting your people. Of course you are happy to see them. Even hit men do this. Even dictators do this. But I SAY TO YOU….Love your enemy, pray for those who hurt you, welcome those who are outside your circle of kin.”
Jesus wasn’t alone in calling his disciples to love their enemies. Lots of thinkers in the ancient world did this:
Love your enemies because it will build you greater security.
Love your enemies to win power over them.
Love your enemies because vengeance is God’s business, not yours, and if you don’t God might have vengeance on you.
All of these reasons were based on self interest.
But Jesus gave a different reason: Love your enemies because when you do, you mirror God. God’s grace is abundant. God showers the earth with rain, and the sun falls, indiscriminately, on the just and the unjust. In the same way, turn towards all people, whether they deserve it or not.
When Jesus said love your enemy, he didn’t use the singular. He used the plural. Love all off them. Love everyone. Jesus chose sinners, those alienated from the religious community, to be his friends. By choosing to love the enemy, we choose kinship over alienation. We recognize ALL folk as kin. God’s call is to remain on the side of all people, not just “our kind of folk”. This is God’s moral beautiful – the beauty that will save our world.
Jesus doesn’t invite us to love our enemies. He commands us to.
I don’t think he’s expecting us to have arrived. I think he’s expecting that as his followers, we are committed to traveling TO this place of love. That we want this – this love of enemy – to be our destination.
He’s not looking for perfection but wholeheartedness, a willingness to move in the direction of mercy, even if we don’t now how. We might need to go into the woods and smash a few sticks to own our anger. We might need to do some welcoming prayer that begins with, “Lord, I got lots of hate.” It might take a few years of therapy. It will undoubtably mean owning our junk.
We’ve got to push into the anger, own it, learn from it, enough to say, “This thing which pierces me, it is not ok.” Then we say, but “I’m not going to stop at hate. I will do what I need to do to move through this. I am committed to love and mercy, even though I don’t know the way. Come Holy Spirit. Come.
Then we ask the Holy Spirit to help us creatively press into goodness, even if it makes us vulnerable. Hold on to dignity. Be creative in unmasking evil for what it is, choosing vulnerability and goodness over aggression or compliance.
Jesus was uncompromising: We can’t love God with hate. We can only love God with love. By loving the enemy, the love of God which flows like the incoming tide wave into our heart, flows out of our hearts as well. This is the vision God has for us. This inflowing, outflowing kingdom is beautiful – it contains a powerful moral beauty.
So, next time, when faced with the actions or value systems of the enemy, what will we do? How can we respond, not with tit for tat mentality, but with a generous spirit that disarms rather than sets us spiralling down into a tussle of aggressive self-interest? Will we react in kind – reflecting back the hostility and self-righteous indignation they gave us? Or will we make ourselves vulnerable, neither aggressively defending or fearfully complying, responding instead in a way that mirrors God’s heart?
A Gathering Place for older youth/young adults.
“Roots” is the new name given to an evolving space for youth and young adults at Southpoint. What began 3 years ago as an internship morphed last year into mentorship. This year, we have christened the gatherings “ROOTS”. ROOTS is an authentic space for deeper conversation and connection, a space where questions are welcomed and tools for growth are shared. The topics and style of conversation are particularly relevant for youth transitioning out of high school and young adults. If you are interested in ROOTS, please contact Anne.
Himalayan Life Screening
Join us on November 22nd at the Kay Meek Arts Centre in West Vancouver, from 7:00-9:00 (doors open at 6:45) for a screening of the film “The Forgotten Ones” featuring the work of Himalayan Life in Nepal. Markku Kostamo is currently in Nepal with Himalayan Life which is one of our mission partners – can’t wait to hear his stories. Check out this opportunity to learn more about this wonderful organization!
Conflict and the Art of Repair
LIFEAPP is an organization in Langley creating communal spaces for conversations about important topics.
SOUL: A monthly event hosted by LifeApp, mixing something like a TED talk, a live band, an Oprah interview, and an after-party with some great food – creating an environment where anyone regardless of spiritual belief, cultural background or sexual orientation, is inspired to take action toward personal growth in their relationships at home, work, and in the community.
The content is universal, the means of communication is creative, well suited for youth and adults. 5 of us went together this past week, and it was a great evening. If you enjoy live music, food, conversation around relevant topics, come join us! RSVP to Anne.
Friday, Nov 2nd
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Chief Sepass Theatre
9096 Trattle Street, Langley
Fall 2018 Ordinary Time
The Flow of Love: Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Friday, Nov. 2nd:
LIFE APP – Fort Sepass Theatre, 7:30-9:00
Focus: How to Repair Relationships after a conflict
“Blessed are the Pure in Heart”
“What do I desire?”
Friday Nov. 9th:
ROOTS – 7:30-9:00,
Shiloh Shelter, Kingfisher Farm
“Blessed are the Merciful”, Mt. 7:1-12
“What if I let go of judgement?”
Friday, Nov. 16th:
“Blessed are the Peacemakers”
“Which is the way of peace?”
Friday, Nov. 23:
Christ the King Sunday: ALL IN + POT LUCK – Advent Preparation
(please bring plenty of food to share at our Pot Luck!)
Tuesday, Nov. 27th:
Kostamo’s, Kingfisher Farm
Focus: Love in Action
Saturday, Jan. 5:
Skating at Centennial Arena, 3:00-5:00
The Well: The Artist Guild of the Church at Southpoint
If you are ages 11-99 and would like the opportunity to create together based on the themes and stories of our Sunday morning worship services come down to Kingfisher Farm this Friday. We’re going to explore God’s movement in our lives, our community and our world through visual art, music and drama.
Upcoming Artist Guild Dates:
Nov 2: (cancelled due to long weekend)
No previous experience necessary – all levels welcome!
Please rsvp to Angela this week so she knows who to expect.
There are many prayer needs in our community right now. If you would like to join the prayer chain to be in more intentional prayer for our community, or if you have a need for prayer that you would like to pass on to the prayer chain, please contact John Hardy.