Daily Encounter – Feb. 18, 2020

Silence and Centering

“Be still, and know that I am God!- Psalm 46:10


Reading & Devotional: Matthew 5:21-37


Reflection: It is a pity that so much of the Sermon on the Mount has
been misunderstood. When you read Jesus’ words, it’s easy to
assume that he’s taking the law and making it more stringent –
creating a higher level of legalism than the religious leaders. Those
who view Christian faith primarily as a calling to purity often take
Jesus’ teaching this way. But, Jesus wasn’t creating a new law, he
was trying to demonstrate the true meaning of the existing law. He
was fulfilling the law’s purpose – to reveal what a human life that is
lived in the freedom of love for God and others looks like. The law
was not meant to be a stick to force us to live well, but the guideline
for hearts that are captivated by God and by love.

If you look at all the “laws” Jesus offers in today’s reading you will
see that he moves from outward observance to heart attitude in
every case. Instead of focussing on murder, Jesus confronts anger.
Instead of adultery, he confronts lust and the abuse of women in
divorce. In place of vow-making, Jesus calls for a commitment of
heart that requires no dramatic promises. The law can control the
worst that human beings can do, but it cannot motivate people to
live up to their best. Only a heart that is transformed by love can do
that, and that is the essence of Jesus teaching.

How can you let love transform you a little more into your best self?
Practice for Today: Love is not primarily something we say or even
feel. Essentially love is an internal bias toward outward actions that
bring life, justice, peace, and joy to those around us. When we truly
love, we don’t need a law to guide us to do what is right. To nurture
this internal attitude, we act how we would if love was already fully
formed within us. Today, practice doing acts of love for others, and
allow this to grow love in your heart.

Breath-Prayer for Today: May my heart be captivated by love, O
God, and may my actions express this love outwardly.



The Our Father (slowly pray this)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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