We all face moments of decision when we have to choose whether to preserve our lives through silence and compliance, or to endure ridicule, persecution and rejection for speaking out for what we believe is right. These decisions are often much smaller, but more significant, than we may realise. When we refuse to laugh at racist, homophobic or chauvinistic jokes, we put ourselves in the firing line. When we stand alongside those whom others want to judge and reject, we risk being rejected and judged ourselves. When we refuse to participate in acts of violence against our “enemies” we may be seen as traitors. When we embrace beliefs and values that are different from the “norm” we may be disowned or excommunicated.

Yet, if we fail to stand up for our convictions, we lose something of our souls, and we contribute to making the world unsafe and threatening for anyone who is “different” in any way. While it may hurt to live out the welcoming, peaceful, and justice-seeking values of God’s reign, to fail to do so hurts us and our world far more. This is why the Lectionary challenges us to love the Gospel above all – for only then will we live as people who truly and selflessly love family, friends, neighbours, and even enemies, as God calls us to.

This week we explore the uncomfortable call of Jesus, and we embrace the cost in our quest to receive and share God’s life.

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