“You have heard the law that 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. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? .... But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48 NLT)
God’s Problem Child
Willie Nelson’ new album God’s Problem Child has a wistful quality that may be an expression of his age and stage. The title song ends with the lines;
Darkness may fall / We still got a light / Keeping us all / Safe through the night
Heaven must love/ God's problem child / Heaven must love / God's problem child
It is a wonderful combination of realism, hope and confidence in the love heaven expresses for even those of us who fall into the “problem child” category. Certainly I have many days when I know that is the case but I also know that I have been loved even in the darkness.
Jesus promotes a radical kind of heavenly perfection in imitating the Father and it isn’t about rules, it’s about love. It was and is an assumption we all share that if people are ignorant to us it justifies our responding similarly. I can escalate with the best, unfortunately.
But Jesus wants us to express on earth what Willie Nelson believes is expressed from heaven. It’s crazy but a great aspiration, with God’s help. When we want to aspire to perfection the test is the no “quid pro quo” love of God to all and sundry.
As we continue to exercise our responsibilities
May Jesus, who walked with wounded feet
Walk with us to the end of our road.
May Jesus, who served with wounded hands
Teach us to serve one another.
May Jesus, who loved with a wounded heart
Be our love forever.
May we see the face of Jesus in everyone we meet
May everyone we meet see the face of Jesus in us.
And God will bless us.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit -Amen.