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 the 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 collector 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. Matthew 5:43-48 (NRSV)
Today it rained. I knew there were clouds, but my smart phone (which I will now admit is not all that smart) told me it would not rain for a while in James City where I live. Rick was on the golf course (with his giant golf umbrella), but he says that it never rains on the golf course, and since my route goes around – and times through – the course, I set out on my 3.3 mile walk around my neighborhood. At the .9 mile mark it began to drizzle at little. OK. I can take this. However, at the 1.3 mile, it began to actually rain. By the 1.65 mark, exactly halfway around, so that it was the very furthest point from home, it began to pour. People in their golf carts were speeding past me and waving cheerily. I called Rick to come and get me. “But I’m on the 14th hole!” he said. “I guess I’ll make it,” I replied through gritted teeth, hoping he would take pity and come get me. “Good,” he said, and hung up. By the time I made it to my driveway, the rain had stopped, but I was thoroughly wet. My hair was saturated to the scalp, and my clothing had to be peeled off.
“God sends his rain upon the just and the unjust,” I thought. “And today, God has sent his rain upon me!”
And then I thought about Daisy Jones. Daisy was a wonderful widow lady who lived on a farm outside of Red Oak, back in the earliest days of our ministries. As a farm dweller, Daisy was always watching the skies in the summertime, usually hoping for a shower for her crops. Summer showers can often be hit or miss. And Daisy always complained that it never rained on her fields. It could rain on all the farms around her, and she would not get a drop. Once, when the remnants of a hurricane had come through the area, a host of folks called her to find out if she had received any rain. She had. Often when it rains, I think of her, and hope the Jones family farm is getting rain.
We have just been through a brutal election season. Just enduring the constraints of living during a pandemic has already made many of us a mite grouchy. People had sign wars. People had arguments. Some are happy, some are disappointed and sad with the result. That is to be expected.
Yet, that is not the way of Christ. God waters the fields of everybody, Jesus tells us. Good people like Daisy Jones, and others who are not so good. God wants us to be as God is, loving all alike, wishing only good for all of our neighbors, no matter who they voted for, or which signs graced their lawns. Jesus tells us that in order to strive to be like God, we must treat people as God does. Sending love and blessings on us all. We can never meet a person that God does not love. That is good to remember in these times.
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above. We share each other’s woes, our mutual burdens bear; And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
Lord God, we thank you for calling us into the company of those who trust in Christ and seek to do his will. May your Spirit guide and strengthen us in mission and service to your world. Amen. (from The Methodist Worship Book (England).
Pastor Rachel Moser