For a child of God there is an alternate reality. In that reality our existence is never threatened. This is not because we ‘get to go to Heaven when we die’ but rather because as we live in the existence and reality of God’s presence we experience the Kingdom of God on this earth. It is this reality that Jesus welcomes us to when he says; “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” The very kingdom that Jesus goes on to say that we are to pray is present on earth with us.
When our very existence is threatened we retaliate. Often in brutal form. In fact, much of the brutality that you see on display in our social media encounters; the mockery, the demeaning, and the dehumanizing all point to our feeling that our very existence is challenged. But it’s not.
Our existence is not determined by our material condition. Our existence is not determined by our financial resources. Our existence is not even determined by our right to ‘pursue happiness.’ As children of God our very existence is found in the work of Jesus Christ. The very work that Jesus called us to when he said in the same passage of Scripture from above that we are to love our enemies and those who would use us for their selfish purposes.
In fact, I would argue that our existence in the kingdom of God, in that alternate reality in which Jesus lived and which his disciples were always confronted with, our existence in that reality is challenged when we even begin to concern ourselves with our existence. Jesus said that there is no greater love than in laying down your life for your friends. It would be hard to argue with the fact that Jesus saw everyone as his friends when we remember his words on the cross as he told God not to charge the soldiers who had beaten him unjustly and were overseeing his murder.
He laid down his life for those men and he laid down his life for you and I. It’s hard, I know, for I often feel threatened as well, but as believers there is an existence to which Jesus invites us; an existence we can experience now, that can never be diminished.
As a child I was fascinated with the stories of martyrs who went to their death singing. And I sometimes can’t even scroll through Facebook or Twitter without cursing and condemning my fellow man. May my existence be found in the kingdom which is populated by those procured from off the sides of roads and in the discarded alleys the world over.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.Luke 6:27-36
“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 children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.