This Sunday we are continuing our series in 1 Peter (3:8-18) where the apostle gives practical application to Jesus’ sermon on the mount: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" (Matthew 5:10, 43-44).
At first glance, Jesus' words seem IMPOSSIBLE. And quite frankly they are. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this too. As the leader of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, he was relentlessly persecuted. And as Dr. King describes in his book, Stride Toward Freedom, he was ready to give up... until an encounter with the living God at his kitchen table led him to a place where he could face anything with the strength to love. From that moment on, it was clear that God was "that power that can make a way out of no way." And this God-given phrase (Matthew 19:26) became the watchword that guided an entire generation. In fact, while King was in jail for peaceful resistance to injustice, it led him to pen one of the most profound sermons on "Loving Your Enemies" ever written.
I hope you join us Sunday as we practice receiving from God the strength to love whether it's through our own perseverance, or in solidarity with the persecuted. Everyone will receive a take-home spiritual practice that can be placed on the fridge as a reminder of God's real presence in our everyday lives.