Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

But I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.
- Matthew 5:44


I am a part of a group that meets once a week, for breakfast, a brief scripture reflection, and a request for prayers. We talk about the things we're struggling with at the office and back at home, about loved ones in harm's way and struggling with medical issues. We offer counsel for difficult situations and congradulations on obsticals overcome. We ask God to heal sicknesses, to provide strength, to grant wisdom, to give insight. Often - but not quite often enough, we even ask that God's will be done, and not our own.

Prayer is...not as easy as it sounds.


But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
- Luke 7:27-28


Unless you are a far saintlier person than most I know, there are at least one or three people that you interact with regularly that you loathe. Might be someone at the office, a guy who works out at the same gym at the same time, a gal in your internet circle, someone at the job who's arrogant or incompentent or lies or has the b.o. of a skunk ape.

Someone whose mere presence or every word is like sandpaper on your eyeballs. You might not go so far as to say you hated that person, but if you never saw them again, you'd surely not miss them.

And when you say 'Good morning' to that person, you surely don't want them to have any thing pleasant at all.

I have a person like that - heck, I have a list.

This is, for me, the hardest part of being a Christian.


"A car rigged with explosives detonated Thursday in a market crowded with women and children in northern Baghdad, killing 16 people...Residents said a driver left the yellow Renault parked along a street lined with shops and stalls parked along the curb. They said the man walked away with a limp and five minutes later, one small explosion was heard, then a devastating blast before noon."
--Washington Post


What would it take to pray for that man - to pray that his limp be healed, and that he be able to walk sound, run after a child, kneel and stand to pray with ease?

What would it mean, for a Christian to pray for the salvation of the soul of Aldof Hitler?

Who could pray for Osama bin Ladin to be recieved back into his family, embraced the prodigal son of parable, accepted again, beloved again? Who could ask God that he have grandchildern to hold on his knees, and nephews to ask him for stories? For an old man to have the aches in his bones depart and his hands be strong again?

To beg of God that this one person, whom you loathe, be awarded a promotion at work, win the lottery, be healed of their corns, recieve good news from a loved one?

I can't do this. Not often. Not at all, most days. And every time I try and fail - either fail to form the words, or change into something half-hearted and self-centered - God, just bring him to see that I'm right. God, make it so I don't have to fight with her today. God, just make them leave me alone. - every time I wonder if I'm going to be able to try again.


When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
The Gospel according to Luke, chapter 23, verse 33-34

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