Compassion and love

The readings this weekend speak of compassion and concern for one another. After spending this past week struggling with COVID, these readings pack even more of a punch for me.

Elisha was a prophet that traveled throughout Judea and preached a message that most people did not want to hear. God was not happy that his people has turned their back on him and were worshiping other gods. Yet, in this sea of hatred for his message, Elisha found a family willing to put him up and show him compassion. And as a reward for their compassion, Elisha promised they would have the child they always wanted.

In the Gospel we are again confronted with the message of compassion. But Jesus takes this message a bit further. Not only are we to show compassion for our friends and family, we are called to show compassion to everyone one. We are to give a cup of water to all those who need it.

Jesus makes it clear, compassion of our friends and family is easy. The hard part is showing compassion to those that hate us. This past weekend at the Augusta Pride Festival we saw that message of compassion for our enemies in a sea of anger over their hateful message. Several local ministers stood in the breach to protect a very hateful and abusive individual bent on proclaiming his false Gospel of hate from a crowd that has long been abused and marginalized. Those ministers were also protecting the LGBT community from doing something out of character because this individual wanted them to.

They showed compassion to both sides, their friends and their enemies. This is what the readings this weekend are all about. And that is the message we so desperately need in these trying times.

Make no mistake: Jesus did not say to allow people to abuse and harm us. Rather he said to show compassion so that maybe they would be dissuaded from that type of abuse and harm by our love. We are called to stand in the breach and to protect others and ourselves from abuse. And I will stand in that breach each and every time. I will not stand idle in the face of hate and abuse. I will speak loudly and firmly against bigotry, racism, hatred, misogyny, and abuse. But I will also do it with compassion and love.

Will you join me in that journey of compassion and love?

Pax et Bonum,

Bishop Greer