Thinking Ahead to Sunday (Baptism) - Epiphany 7

Weekly Theme
Expanding Boundaries

Readings for this week
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
Psalm 119:33-40
Matthew 5:38-48


[Jesus said:] "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

"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.

Focus Questions

1. With whom do you identify in this story: the crowd, or the religiously observant leaders?

2. How much do you think Christians take seriously Jesus' command to love our enemies as a core teaching?

3. When have you experienced transformation because a person or community (or you yourself) went the extra mile of faithfulness?

4. When have you ever witnessed a "flower" crack the "rock" it inhabited? How might that look in our culture?


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