Beyond Borders

One of the many political and social quagmires we find ourselves in these days is the discussion about borders, most especially U.S. Borders. There is a lot of conversation about who should be inside our borders and who outside. There are many words that have become commonplace in everyday conversation; refugee, alien, illegals, vetting, extreme and even ICE. I am not going to proselytize on my personal position but rather invite us all to take another look at what Jesus says about it, according to the Gospel of Matthew, read today which is relevant to us.

As there was in the scripture reading last Sunday, there is a convention that Jesus uses in this week’s text that goes like this: “you have heard that it was said..” and then he completes the sentence. Afterward he says, “But I say to you…” and he gives his version of the thing he wants to make a point about. There is an academic name for this Biblical device but suffice it to say that what Jesus is doing is turning the tables over on the way perspectives have been commonly held in the minds of his people for thousands of years and he offers an alternative, which he believes is better, more just or just plain simpler. You gotta love Jesus and you gotta admit he seems to have had a rebellious, anti-establishment bent to his message, a message which he claimed came from God, whom he called Father or Abba.

The eye for an eye thing mentioned is verse 38 is pretty much the way we here in the U.S. operate, as do most countries. Obviously, if a country does something egregious to us or invades our borders we then claim a moral right to retaliate. I get that and I would do the same if someone invaded my space, property or God help them if they hurt my kid. I’m on Mommy Reptilian Brain then, man, let me tell you and it’s not pretty. It is normal for humans to strike back when we are attacked. The whole “he hit me first” mentality has been around for millennia.

In today’s text, the very famo