Church of the Brethren



eBrethren logo-14

Stories of Brethren stewards * November 1, 2017


Donate I Subscribe I Archive I Forward
Read this e-mail as a web page.

Ft Myers FL Workcamp- 500w 2
Participants at the North Fort Myers (Fla.) workcamp this past summer. 
Photo courtesy of the Church of the Brethren Workcamp office

Loving our enemies
By Matt DeBall, coordinator of Donor Communications

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

The words of Jesus have always been radical. He carefully, yet firmly, addressed the concerns of the day and called his peers and adversaries into the transformative, often uncomfortable ways of God. For the Jews who had been scorned and oppressed by other nations for generations, the call to love enemies was not an easy one. It meant laying aside pain and pride, and offering care to those who had brought them harm. It meant working for the good of others whether or not the gesture was returned.

In a world where actions typically provoke similar reactions, this enemy-loving way of living can seem both ridiculous and risky. It’s natural to be stirred with anger when someone inconveniences you. It’s easy to justify retaliation when someone spreads destructive lies about you or threatens the wellbeing of your loved ones. And yet, it is the script-flipping maneuver of repaying aggression and harm with compassion that makes room for the work of the Holy Spirit. When we choose to offer grace instead of revenge, we allow God to work in us and we invite others—yes, even those who oppose us— to grow more fully into their identities as children of God.

We see this unrelenting love in the work of our partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, and other places. Our sisters and brothers offer help to all who are in need. They reach across cultural divisions and allow programs for trauma healing and peacebuilding to bring restoration for people of an entire community, not simply their own.

In our congregations, we love our opponents (perceived or real) as we reach out into our communities. Through offering recreational or educational opportunities, we create meeting places where people of all walks of life can find common ground and build relationships. By creating safe spaces of hospitality, we invite people of different faiths, beliefs, and opinions to express their concerns and their hopes, and allow everyone to contribute for the well-being of all.

The ministries of the Church of the Brethren embody what it means to love all people, including enemies and opponents, and to work for reconciliation—with others and with God. Will you support this transformative work and join us in sharing the radical love of Jesus?

Learn more about the work of the Church of the Brethren at www.brethren.org or support it today at www.brethren.org/give.

Advent 2017 Thumbnailwww.brethren.org/
adventoffering




2017 Advent Offering


“‘The Spirit of the Lord is
upon me, because he has
anointed me to bring good
news to the poor.’... Today
this scripture has been
fulfilled in your hearing”
(Luke 4:18 and 21).


The Advent offering is a
special opportunity for your
congregation to support
Church of the Brethren
denominational ministries.

The suggested date for
this offering is
December 17.

Find worship resources at www.brethren.org/adventoffering

 


“The wise men show us the beauty and mystery
of God's leading. They remind us to look up and
never stop seeking. They tell us that, like them,
we should never hesitate to follow God's leading.”

James H. Lehman in “The Magnificent Story,”
the 2017 Advent devotional available for
purchase from Brethren Press.

 

BP Advent Devo 2017-500w
 


Facebook icon 32  Twitter icon 32  Blogger icon 32  YouTube Logo  Pinterest icon 32  Instagram icon 32

Thankyou-sign-12-14

Watch for our
next issue on
November 15
.

Do you have a story
about how you and
your congregation
practice stewardship?

E-mail it to
ebrethren@brethren.org !

eBrethren: Stories of Brethren Stewards is produced every other week by the Church of the Brethren Donor Relations department.

Please add "cobweb@brethren.org" to your address book or safe-list to ensure our e-mail reaches your inbox.

eBrethren is published by Church of the Brethren Donor Relations, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, Illinois 60120.
The Church of the Brethren is a nonprofit religious and educational organization recognized by the federal and state governments. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
(c) 2017 Church of the Brethren.

Save trees: Think before you print!

Log in and update your information.
Unsubscribe from eBrethren.
Change your e-mail address or contact us.