Today was All Saints Sunday in Church. We did many things in church. We sang, we prayed, I preached. We opened our hands and received communion. We even said, "Christ is risen!" We lit candles to remember those in our lives who had been saints to us, who had reflected the light of Christ to us.
And, we read from the Bible.
We read from the Bible every Sunday at church.
But today it felt different.
I felt the weight of the appointed Gospel, from Jesus' Sermon on the Plain. It is appointed for All Saints Sunday, but this year I didn't preach on the gospel. I preached on being a saint, and I preached on being a witness, but I didn't preach on these particular words.
But I read them, because they were the words of the appointed gospel for today.
Two days before our National Election, I read the blessings and the woes. Blessed are you who are poor. Woe to you who are rich. Blessed are you when you are reviled, and people speak ill of you.
And then, three little words:
Love your enemies
I don't know what my congregation heard when I said these words. I felt time slow down while I said them. "Love your enemies, and do good to those who persecute you."
I felt like Jesus was speaking them directly to me.
They were words not just for the election, but for how to live afterwards. I am not sure that it is possible, but I am certain that it is necessary. Love your enemies. I don't think that means, "Let your enemies walk all over you." It also doesn't mean, "Let your enemies get away with evil." It also doesn't mean "Show contempt for your enemies."
"Love your enemies."
I opened the Bible and the words of Jesus exploded in my face.
They made me consider again what it will mean, and what it might cost to be a follower of Jesus, in such a time as this.