I grew up as part of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, where the pastor, George Mason, retires this year after 35 years of ministry. I remember many “George-isms,” but he declared the most memorable one during baby dedications. After walking the newest nursery addition up and down the aisles for everyone to see, he returned the child to the parents at the front and proclaimed that God promised this baby “a good road, but not an easy one.” Oof. Cue the tears.
That distinction between good and easy is tough. The message Jesus proclaims, to love those who do not love you, and pray for those who do evil against you, is not easy. But somewhere embedded in that kind of loving and praying is a good road waiting to be carved out. This work of love and prayer not only forms a path; it forms us to serve Christ.
I direct a pilot program that connects doulas to birthing parents in an effort to lower the maternal mortality rate. This task has been hard. The reality of COVID, mixed with biased medical practices and years of misinformation, has reigned supreme as we’ve tried to move this effort forward. Moving two steps forward then taking fifteen steps back is tiresome. After many conversations and presentations, a colleague reminded me that even Jesus’ message was seldom received with kindness or fully understood. The comment was an invaluable reminder to me that even when our tasks are not easy, they are still good. When do you need to remember that message from Jesus?
Today’s passage includes the Golden Rule, do to others as you would have them do to you (v. 31). These days in trauma-informed care and equity work, we talk about the Platinum Rule, “do to others as they would like done.” What might change if we utilized this platinum rule?
Lord, you often ask of us the opposite of what we expect—to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us. Help us remember that following you is not meant to be easy, but that it will be good. Amen.