Some of the teachings of Jesus are quite hard to hear, especially for those who are victims of abuse and other forms of violence. Jesus teaches us to not physically resist an evildoer, but only in the sense that we not become violent and abusive ourselves. Jesus calls us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us in the hope that they will be transformed by love. Turning the other cheek and giving up our shirt were, according to theologian Walter Wink, acts of resistance that would have shamed the other person in first century Jewish culture. This is not a passive letting your enemies walk all over you, but an active way of resisting evil. Loving others requires that we still see humanity in others when they refuse to see it in us.
The dreamer Joseph, who has been toying with his brothers, now reveals himself to them, asks about his father, and assures them that what they intended for evil God has used for good. Their family would be saved from the famine, because of what has happened to Joseph. He sends them back with a message inviting his father to come to Egypt. And then he kisses and weeps over his brothers.
People ask what kind of bodies people will have when they are raised. Like a seed planted into the ground, resurrected bodies are something totally different, heavenly bodies, not earthly. Earthly bodies are planted in the ground, but they are raised as heavenly, eternal bodies. Now we are like the earthly Adam, then we will be like the heavenly Christ.
Jesus teaches that his followers must love their enemies, for it does no good to only love those who love back – even sinners do that. But, loving enemies and treating them well is acting like children of God, and is compassionate as God is compassionate. This also means we must not judge others, but must forgive, and give generously, for then we will be forgiven and will receive abundance back.
Prayer Author of Life, may Your words continue to inspire us and guide us. May we understand the stories of old with new insight. May we hear the songs and poems as if they are being sung in us. We trust in the words of the prophets to bring us insight into Your ways of justice. May the laws and statutes and ordinances remind us that You desire us to be a people who practice justice and loving-kindness. We trust in the words of Jesus to lead us into life, the teachings of the apostles to shape our communities, and the revelations of Scripture to reveal Your mysteries in new ways.
Author of Life, we know You are continuing to write our stories, woven together into the great mystery of creation, and we trust You in the process that one day we may understand a glimpse of all You have given us. Amen.