9/12/22 Devotional from Ed
September 12, 2022
Text (used in Ellen's sermon yesterday): Matthew 5:38-48
“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 shirt, give your coat as well, and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to the one who asks of 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.
Devotional: During Ellen's sermon yesterday, she lifted up several individuals who strove to model the "complete" or "perfect" love of Jesus, including Mother Teresa, the forgiving Emanuel AME families in Charleston, and St. Francis of Assisi.
She saved, however, a quote from Mother Teresa for the time spent yesterday afternoon serving Communion to our members at Wildewood Downs. Here's the (bolded) quote she shared at Wildewood Downs from Mother Teresa (given in 1979 when Mother Teresa accepted the Nobel Peace Prize):
"Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor that we meet, Christ in the smile that we give and the smile that we receive. Let us make that one point: That no child will be unwanted, and also that we meet each other always with a smile, especially when it is difficult to smile.
I never forget some time ago about fourteen professors came from the United States from different universities. And they came to Calcutta to our house. Then we were talking about that they had been to the home for the dying. We have a home for the dying in Calcutta, where we have picked up more than 36,000 people only from the streets of Calcutta, and out of that big number more than 18,000 have died a beautiful death. They have just gone home to God; and they came to our house and we talked of love, of compassion, and then one of them asked me: Say, Mother, please tell us something that we will remember, and I said to them: Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family. Smile at each other. And then another one asked me: Are you married, and I said: Yes, and I find it sometimes very difficult to smile at Jesus because he can be very demanding sometimes. This is really something true, and there is where love comes--when it is demanding, and yet we can give it to Him with joy."
Let's see if we can make this simple, though extremely difficult, instruction as a centerpiece of this week: "Christ is in the smile that we give and the smile that we receive."
Prayer: Holy God, may we see you in the smiles we receive this week, and grant us the strength to extend a smile even when it is difficult. May your Spirit fall upon each of this day and beyond. Amen.