September 8, 2019

Do I Really Have To Hate You?
Pentecost 13, Proper 18,
Year C
Becky Robbins-Penniman


538 Love Messages Quilt – a 538 pieced quilt representing 538 mentions of the word “love” in the Bible.

I hate you.

It seems really, really odd for me to stand up here on a Sunday morning. and say that to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. But, well, Jesus says I have to hate you. I have to hate you to be his disciple. But. Wait. The writer of the epistle says I have to love you, my brothers and sister in Christ. If I hate you, basically I’m murdering you. No wonder being a good Christian is hard. What am I going to do with this?

I think I’ll go back to what I heard from one of my favorite priests, Jim Miner, when, in my late 30s, I was just starting out on my adult journey of faith. While contemplating two seemingly incompatible verses of Scripture, Jim quoted Niels Bohr, a physicist who won the Nobel Prize: (How Episcopalian for a priest to quote a physicist!) Bohr said: The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

In this case, context is everything for understanding these opposing truths.

To read the full sermon text, click HERE.