Seventh Sunday After Epiphany: The Gospel Passage – A Valentine’s Day Message

Yes, I know if is Valentine’s Day, a day of hearts, roses, chocolates and cards; pick and red, puffy clouds and little cherubs with tiny arrows that do not hurt.

I was faced with two choices for the scripture passage for today. Originally I was going to go with the Old Testament passage from Leviticus 19, and just explain why. (I will explain my reason/rationale for that choice tomorrow.) But then I looked at the Matthew 5 passage, and saw that it worked just as well – in a “upside down Kingdom” sort of way. So, here we go.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.

Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:38-48)

This is love – love that is not smiley faced and perky sweet. This is love that goes the distance and stays as blessed and holy as when it began. This is the love that sustains through the darkest times and wins out over everything else. This is the love that we need. It may not be the type of love we want to do, but it is the love we should do. Love takes off it delicate pink coating and goes to work in the world. This is the love we are called to by God, because this is the type of love God has for us. Love in this way, and never cease! Selah!