Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Weekly Moravian Message, Feb. 23, 2014

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany February 23, 2014

The highest love

When Jesus asks, “Will you receive my love to be forgiven and live eternally?” we say, “Yes!” and throw open our arms to receive him into our hearts. It’s easy to receive love and kindness, but what about meanness and hurt? How do you react when someone “strikes” you with a thoughtless or hurtful comment? Jesus teaches us not to resist an evil person: if they hit one cheek, offer the other; when you are sued, also give your shirt and coat. Take those open arms and embrace your enemy with the love Jesus gave you!

Back in high school I remember how difficult the pole vault was. I never was able to get far enough off the ground; so I gave up and became a runner. If this Gospel lesson sets the bar too high, we might run away. Accepting one who strikes us instead of seeking retribution? Loving an enemy? How can we do that?

Sometimes the all-forgiving love Jesus teaches seems human-ly impossible. But Jesus has not left us without a “pole” to make it over this high bar! He has given us the faith to ask for guidance or gifts that will allow us to love so highly. He has given us the Spirit who leads us. A strong faith and the leading of the Spirit form the foundation from which we can make this leap of faith. A vital and growing relationship with Jesus allows us to live out this higher standard of his love. With Christ in us, we forgive instead of demanding retribution; we love those who cannot yet love us. With Christ living in us and throughout our faith communities, his love will carry us over the highest hurdle!

Tony Hayworth, pastor, Grace Moravian Church, Mount Airy, North Carolina

Moravian Daily Texts


Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Watchword for the Week — Trust in him at all times, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

Sunday, January 21 — Jonah 3:1–5,10; Psalm 62:5–12
1 Corinthians 7:29–31; Mark 1:14–20

I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. Psalm 138:2

Jesus prays: “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26

Blessed Redeemer, on this holy day may our worship of you spill out of the sanctuary and into every aspect of our lives. May all that we do give testimony to your unifying love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

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