Dear Wine Before Breakfast friends:
I am not a person who has many enemies. You know, real enemies. Not just people who maybe don’t like me, but people who are a threat to my very life.
But every time I come to Central America I am confronted by the reality of violence. Stories of the military murdering people in a church. Stories of exhuming the bones of children who were massacred.
When you face that kind of brutality it is not surprising that people develop deep hatreds. Indeed, the very sight of a uniformed soldier in the context of a military dictatorship can occasion fear and anger.
Jesus must have known such emotions. He grew up in a military dictatorship. He had seen the brutality of the occupying forces. He undoubtedly had heard the stories of Herod’s violence shortly after his birth. Some of those murdered boys could have been his cousins.
But his Kingdom was bigger than either the Roman empire or the nationalist zeal and revolutionary fervor of Israel. His Kingdom faced the violence but refused to ape it.
While this is demonstrated most radically on the cross, the expansive nature of his Kingdom was also evident throughout his ministry.
A Roman centurion comes to Jesus to ask for the healing of his servant. He knows that he doesn’t really have any basis for the request. He wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus told him to go to hell, but somehow the stories about Jesus gave him courage to make his request.
And Matthew tells us that Jesus was amazed at the centurion’s faith and he healed the servant.
This is an expansive love, and it is offensive. This is offensive to every mother who has lost a son to a military junta. This is a slap in the face to every 1st century Jew or 21st century Latin American who has had to live under a state sponsored violence that has stripped them of their land, the livelihood, their hope, their children.
This is the breadth of the Kingdom.
I’m in Costa Rica as I write this and I look forward to returning to Toronto on Monday evening in order to be with you all at Wine Before Breakfast on Tuesday.
Sara will be preaching,
Judith will break the bread,
and Deb Whalen will be leading the WBB Band.
Welcome back to WBB. If you want to bring some muffins or other baked goods, let Sara know.
Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday, January 11 @ 7.22am
Wycliffe College Chapel