Sermon for February 24, 2019
The Sermon on the Plain- Part II
Luke 6: 27-38
Rev. Liz Aguilar
We continue today in the same area of the Gospel of Luke as last week. You may recall from last week that we read about Jesuss sermon on the Plain (otherwise known as The Sermon on the Mount) in Matthew. Last week it was about the blessings and woes/warnings. Today we make our way through Jesuss sermon some more.
Please do refer to the scripture found on pages 64 and 65 in your pew Bible.
Youll notice that some of these scripture verses have become very well known, especially one called the golden rule. But in general, we can say that this scripture portion has to do with how one is to treat those who have done wrong to you. Here, Jesus challenges us to be gracious, forgiving, and to ultimately extend Gods grace to all around us.
Those are easier said than done, though, arent they?
This Friday I treated myself to a movie- Friday is my sabbath and I try to do something I wouldnt normal do- not just errands but also something fun. I decided to watch the movie, The Green Book.
The film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the deep south by an African-American classical and jazz pianist named, Dr. Don Shirley, and an Italian-American bouncer named Jimmy Vallalonga who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard.
In the movie- we see how these two very different men learn to get along and respect one another, despite their big differences. One is a working-class Italian immigrant who lives in the Bronx and the other is a very well-educated, very cultured, accomplished, professional musician who is African-American.
They travel together through the south so that Dr. Shirley can perform a series of concerts. As they travel along, Dr. Shirley is confronted by racism almost at every stop along the way.
His body guard becomes very angry and at first wants to beat up everyone who treats Dr. Shirley badly. However, Dr. Shirly teaches Jimmy the Lip how to rise above it, hold oneself with dignity, and keep going.
You can quickly put yourself in his shoes and you are made to wonder if you would react in that same way- standing up for yourself but not giving into violence.
In our scripture of today- Jesus says to give the other cheek if someone strikes you. To give money to those who ask of it, and expect nothing in return. To forgive. To treat others as you would want to be treated
I wonder- have any of you ever had anyone do anything really bad to you. something that was very hard to forgive and that you will probably never forget?
Some of us might be tempted to think that Jesuss words were easy at the time. That the people he would have been speaking to would have had easier lives. But they did not. They would have been confronted by betrayal, robbery, violence, conflict. Some would have been familiar with the stories of the prophets, Moses, the Israelites- Cane and Abel; David and Saul; Esau and Jacob- all of these famous rivalries.
Those who were traveling would have been confronted easily with thieves, people wanting to cause them harm. So no, these words wouldnt have been easy to receive or accept.
So what about you. What about me?
I want to share with you a story that happened in the life of my family. My father came to the US and went to Chicago as an immigrant from Mexico. He had written to his half brothers whom had extended their welcome to him, letting him know that they would be available to help him out. Much to my fathers surprise, his half-brothers wife did not allow my father to stay with them or even enter the house the first day he arrived.
Years later after my father had become a minister my uncle and his wife attended a worship service. My father introduced him to us kids. Later, I remembered who he was and what he had done to my dad many years prior.
My uncle and aunt had come to the church hoping that my father would help my uncle to find a job. My dad did just that. He still had connections at the hospital he had worked at for 12 years as a respiratory therapist, and helped my uncle secure a good job as a custodian. My uncle remained in that job until he retired many years later.
I remember I must have harbored bad feelings toward my uncle because my father would tell me, you must forgive your uncle. Had my dad not forgiven him and had not helped him out, my uncles life would have been much different.
Forgive. Walk on. Extend Grace…