Thursday Midweek Communion at St Giles
First Reading I Corinthians 8
8 Now about food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘We all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘An idol is nothing at all in the world’ and that ‘There is no God but one.’ 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
Gospel Luke 6
When the Gospel is announced the reader says
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.
All Glory to you, O Lord.
Love for enemies
27 ‘But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
All Praise to you, O Christ.
Easy to modernise gospel for kids. If someone steals trainers, give them iPhone as well. Reaction outrage. No respect for anyone acting like a doormat. Anyone can walk all over them. Be strong. Stand up for self. Show what you are made of. Reject abuse and bullying.
Is this really how we are to behave? Jesus did, during arrest, trail and execution. But what about encounter with moneychangers? Exchanges with Pharisees and religious leaders? Was he not robust?
1. This is personal code – does not apply to countries and organisations. Invasion of Poland and resisting Nazi domination does not come into it.
2. Peaceful resistance not necessarily pacifist. Not always negative. What about Gandhi, Mandela, Bonhoeffer? Did Peace and reconciliation not achieve more lasting and real peace, because not based on being a doormat but on real and genuine repentance.
Perhaps more than pacifism, this philosophy of life is a rejection of the me-first generation. Do unto others – the golden rule. Love for enemies, as heading suggests. Not acting as others in the world act – but being recognisably different. Counter cultural.
In the Kingdom, the invited guest sits in the lowliest place. But he doesn’t stay there. He is promoted – invited to move up to a place of honour. He conquers through humility. And the Jesus movement starts that way, by rejecting the values of his day. Choosing to die for the cause, rather than live a lie. Who knows – in most cases turning the other cheek does not invite another slapped face, but puzzlement and a desire to find out more. To be reconciled.
love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.