Year A Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany February 16th 2014
Where do I start?
I’ll keep this week short and sweet.
Aleph – Alpha – The Beginning.
This is the beginning of something new. A shift from an eye for an eye, to reconciliation, toward a way, which include forgiveness, includes learning to be righteous. There is a hint of this fundamental shift from the angry God of old to the new God to come in Psalm 119 as God asks us to seek Him with all our hearts and praise him during our learning.
Matthew continues in the Gospel reading of this week, with Jesus now being clear on what keeping the law truthfully means. It’s shifting from some ritualistic construct, as in Psalms, to a new place within the heart, a place within the soul, the spirit, to the light in relationship with Him and with us.
Timing plus. I love how God works. He confronts us with what we need to work upon. And this reading is about relationship. With Him, with your partner, with your neighbour with yourself. That the only way to create relationship with Him, with Love, is through behaviours He commands from us. We don’t literally need to poke our eyes out when walking along Bondi Beach, nor cut off our hands. We know what’s right, really, when we look within ourselves. We know that looking at that person sunbaking at the beach, while walking with our partner who loves and trusts us, really isn’t ok. That somewhere deep within hurts them and it hurts us. But we’re human. And we know that it’s really difficult to keep our eyes firmly focused on Love, rather than the short term fulfilment that lust brings. That the challenges of a long term relationship, no matter how difficult, hurt far less than the pain that betrayal in your heart or the heart of the one you love will bring, to both of you and your extended family, friends and community. The light that Love brings, surpasses anything physical. It radiates, it shines. It illuminates all those around, and it is truly good.
The right, in the old and new testaments represent the right side of God, the side being that of Mercy, goodness, kindness, benevolence, of masculinity and harmony. In the body, it represents the conscious nervous system, self-awareness. It represents world knowledge, and the ability to work within the constructs of the world and in helping others. If we are to falter in being able to remain righteous then it is better to cut the infected area away, be that an adulterous relationship, working too many hours in the office, being on the internet too much, holding onto anger, gossiping, speaking ill of your neighbour, selfishness, sex for lust rather than sex as spiritual fulfilment and then there’s always that negative self-talk. It’s better to get rid of it. But how? It’s really hard to give away these learned and earned behaviours, the ones we have to protect ourselves, the ones through fear and some argue , the ones ingrained by an animal predisposition. The spirit asks a lot more from us. It is a higher place of being. And it is truly necessary to ask Jesus to help us here. Digging out negative behaviours can be done through the gifts God gives to people here on earth who support us wanting to work through physical, emotional and spiritual issues and Jesus is the one to call to, for supernatural healing, to give Him these hindrance’s, to give them to the one that sits at the right hand of the Lord.
The right hand pillar of Mercy. Where Jesus sits with God at His throne. Jesus is the mercy we require to get through the rough road to remaining faithful. To Him and to the people in our lives and to ourselves.
Relationship means a whole lot of things. Yes of course it makes sense to remain faithful and true to the ones you love. It’s pretty messy if you don’t because people get hurt, and this is where the light, as we know it, gets covered. We can build huge brick walls within ourselves, blocking out any connection we may wish to share. Those brick walls could have been created through relationships in our childhood. Through abuse, through addiction. But what Jesus is saying to us here is that to promise Him and ourselves and the ones we reach out to with love, to the ones who are damaged, to ourselves who are damaged. That Yes means Yes and No means No. No pussy footing around. Just be honest. Just hand over your challenges to him. This is a journey. We’re not perfect.
I will praise you in an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
I am not perfect. I get angry, I make mistakes, I have broken relationships, I get sick, I have guilt and sadness and loss. I could feel sorry really for myself, I could play a victim. But I won’t. I choose not too. That right eye, that right hand, that right part of my body I need to throw away in order to give it to God, will save me from Hell. Here and for eternity. I know Christ died for me, because there is no way, and I say this often, to myself and others, there is no way on earth I would make it through this life alone and get into the gates of heaven, even if I had a million life times to get it perfect, because honestly I’m not. I’m honest about that. But Christ is. Perfect and merciful, and loving, and forgiving. God loves us so much, He just says, give it to Him.
I hope you’re able to be honest with yourselves too, and if not, listen to the ones that love you. Because honesty gets you everywhere. It will give you better relationships. Allow others to make healthy decision for themselves, allow you to make healthy decisions for yourself and the wider world and ultimately allow you to ask God for forgiveness and guidance. He wants you to feel peace and joy. That’s gonna occur when you’re aware that His teachings are there to benefit, not stifle your life.
Be good to one another, reconcile quickly, speak your truth, be compassionate, listen. Be heard. Go out and do what you’re here to do and know you are loved. Knowing you are loved will allow you to love, in whatever form that takes.
That doesn’t mean be a doormat. It does mean being real.
Be real. Be light and go in God’s good grace.
I could have given a speech on Valentine’s Day. I could’ve been self-righteous. But I can’t do those things today. I do have a relationship with Jesus. He is my first love. Every day is Valentine’s day, when I give myself to Him.
And self-righteous…me? Naaaa. Not by a long shot…my past is blacker than black, and the light revealed through that darkness, shines, like a diamond.
God bless, thank you Jesus and may the Holy Spirit continue to shine with lots of Love.