This Sunday we continue hearing Jesus’ teachings from a section in the gospel of Matthew known as the “Sermon on the Mount”. Our focus Bible reading is Matthew 5:38–48.

For Jews in Jesus’ day, the Torah was the revelation of God to the people. It contained instructions about how to live in relation to God and one another. Jesus encourages his listeners to go behind the literal words of the law to discover the love that lies at its heart. Jesus said it is not enough simply to follow the rules, but our hearts must be in it as well. Jesus’ community lived in a hostile society in which for example, a Roman soldier could just order someone to carry his pack for a mile. There were many who demanded revenge for this oppression. Jesus tells his followers that they have the power to choose to do more than is required, to go the extra mile.

On this Sunday’s exploration of Jesus’ teachings, young people will be encouraged to see others or our neighbors through Jesus’ eyes and expand their boundaries to include those they may consider to be “enemies.” Children are engaged in different kinds of relationships. They recognize some of the differences in their relationships with family and friends, and those with classmates and team members. They may think of “neighbors” as those who live in the house or apartment next door to them. Or that “neighborhood” can also refer to a variety of people with whom they interact in their community. Also, our youth may have heard the word “enemy” in the context of movies, games, books, or adults sharing war history with them. They may understand at some level that an enemy is that person with whom you don’t get along. This session will help our youth to explore Jesus’ teaching about what it means to care for both, neighbor and those considered enemies. Also, we will learn that Jesus’ teachings to love one’s enemies should not be interpreted as to put ourselves in danger or to tolerate abusive relationships. Young people need a supportive community that helps them expand the boundaries of this new view of self and others. I hope and pray that in our conversations our young people will grow in their relationship with God and be empowered to respond to others in ways that show God’s vision of peace, love and compassion for all. Pp

All children and youth are welcome to join us for Bible story time and activities on the 2nd floor after the time of conversation with the pastor. Childcare is available for children 4 and under on the 2nd floor as well.