‘Love your enemies, pray for those who hate you.’
This is the Gospel reading chosen for this date in our religious calendar (for the Episcopal Church), the day that we celebrate Independence Day. It may seem a strange choice, but I think it’s perfect.
We are reminded of our freedom – our freedom to make choices about our own lives, and also how we care for our neighbors. And we are reminded of our dependence on God’s love – for our life and for the world we live in.
Our part in this world is to care for our neighbors – and most especially to love them. No matter what. We are reminded of both our rights and our responsibilities because of our love of country – and ultimately, because of our dependence on God.
That’s Good News.
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
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