Bible Reading: Matthew 5:43-48
You have heard that the law of Moses says, “Love your neighbor” and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45
RAYBANN AND SOLOPLEX, two of heaven’s angels, exchanged high fives. “Yyyyyesss!” Raybann shouted. He grabbed Soloplex and started twirling him around and around in a dizzying dance of celebration in the thin air above the earth. “Did you see that?” Soloplex shouted. “Whoosh!”
They turned and peered together at the scene below them. The Israelites stood, high and dry, on the banks of the Red Sea. They had just crossed to freedom and safety as Raybann and Soloplex, under instructions from God, had rolled back the waters of the sea. The Israelites had hurried across the channel on the miraculously dry ground, while the armies of Egypt pursued them on horses and chariots. Once God’s chosen people had safely reached the opposite shore, Raybann and Soloplex released the water, and the entire Egyptian army had been drowned in the returning waters of the sea, prompting the delirious celebration of the two angels.
Upon their return to heaven, however, Raybann and Soloplex were summoned into the presence of God. They were shocked to find the blinding light of his face dimmed and his expression sad.
“Is the Holy One not pleased with our success?” Raybann asked, bowing before God’s throne with his face to the ground.
“You rejoice,” God said. It was not a question.
“Your people are delivered, and their enemies are dashed to pieces,” Soloplex reported.
God looked at his two messengers, and the sorrow in his expression turned their white robes to gray. “The work of my hands is sunk in the sea, and you rejoice!”
That story is a variation on a tale that has been told by rabbis for centuries to illustrate the love of God. Although Pharaoh and his armies sought to enslave—even destroy-God’s chosen people, God loved them as he loves all his creation. And he makes it clear that he wants his children to display that same kind of love, even to those who are mean and hateful. He didn’t say it would be easy to do those things, but he did say it is right.
REFLECT: Have you ever rejoiced at the fall of an enemy? How do you feel about that person now? Do you think Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” instead of hating them means you have to feel love toward everyone? Does it mean acting in loving ways? Both? Neither?
PRAY: “God, thank you for your love and for reminding me that love is always right. Help me especially to love_______________________ today so that I may act as a true child of my Father in heaven.”