The anniversary of September 11 raises painful memories… but there is another memory of the Twin Towers, which is also relevant, if you can hearken back to it. . . It was in the movie Godspell, where Jesus and his followers are walking across the nearly completed Twin Towers, and Jesus is preaching a message of love of enemies, from Luke 6: 27:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your cloak, give him your coat, too. Give to everyone who asks, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
What does it mean, to love our enemies, practicing peace while following the Prince of Peace? It might mean turning down the heat of the debate, and remembering the reason that our country was founded on the freedom of religion: many of our forefathers came here fleeing religious persecution. Can we somehow recognize, who might be in the minority position in our own land? Who might need us to stand up for them and lend our voice of protection, if they are being threatened or their holy books burned?
Godspell is worth taking out on Neflix… Jesus does the bread and wine blessing in Hebrew, and we remember Jesus was a rabbi… how many rabbis were killed, under the banner of Jesus? Jesus wept. Let’s practice peace, as we follow the Prince of Peace. Everybody sing… prepare ye the way of the Lord…