22904 Finding God in the mysteries of every day
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Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
There is a long road between the Greek ideas of storge love and agape love. It is the distance that Jesus clearly delineates in the verses above. It is the difference between comfortable affection and committed, willful love. There are enemies of God’s call to agape love everywhere. They are the voices that call us to extreme nationalism, or extreme social philosophy, or racial arrogance and separation. Even at the football or soccer stadium storge love is often at the root of riots and other kinds of violence.
There is no voodoo here or “super spirituality”. Jesus was never about that. Those values we have placed on the phenomenon of the Pentecost are, and never have been the point. The essential focus is on our willingness to kneel before the Lord Jesus in humble, hungry love and to receive the strength of will needed to overcome ourselves and to offer to him all that we are.