When we look at the two main readings in today’s liturgy, Corinthians 6:1-10 and Matthew 5:38-42, we see references to actions and reactions. We know from our own life experiences that our first reactions to some situations are not necessarily the best or the most Christlike. Jesus challenges us to behave generously and not to base our reactions to situations on what other people may expect. Positivity does not have to be preached in every situation but can be quietly presented by example. Lessons of love can be surprisingly taught through generosity and restraint.
In order to behave in ways that model Christian responses, we need to spend time with Jesus in prayer. I share with you now a summer invitation I received, with hopes that you may take time to sit with Jesus and react to his peaceful presence.
Jesus invited me to sit on my front porch with him.
A gentle spirited breeze passed by now and then.
The summer sky was punctuated with cottony clouds.
A small bird eavesdropped from a power line above.
Occasionally a car would go by on the way to somewhere.
The thorns on the rose bush next to the porch only served
to protect the lone salmon-colored blooming rose….not to hurt my Lord.
My Savior’s love warmed me comfortably….
much better than the humid summer afternoon air.
The wood of the porch step on which we sat supported us…
unlike the wood of Jesus’ cross that punished him.
There we were:
familiar, refreshing, consoling
loving, forgiving, understanding
There, on my porch, with my Jesus, together.
May our upcoming summer be a time of slowing down long enough to think about how we might grow in the kind of reactive love Jesus practiced and preached.