Drawing Lines. Erasing Lines.

Dear Friends,
 
In the midst of my sermon preparation for this coming Sunday (2/17) this cartoon drawing showed up on my Twitter feed. As I quickly scrolled past it, I was drawn to go back up and take a longer, closer look at it. I invite you to do the same now. Take a long, close look at this drawing and determine in your heart and mind what the artist is intending to communicate.
 
On the surface, I think we would all agree that the message is that Jesus erases the lines of division that we continue to draw. I’ve heard it said before that every time we draw a line between us and others, Jesus is always on the other side of that line. In the case of this drawing, he not only is on the other side of our lines, but he also is erasing our lines.
 
I discovered this drawing at the perfect time, as I was studying this Sunday’s preaching text from Luke 6:17-26. In this text Jesus is coming down from the mountain and addressing those who were gathered and awaiting his arrival. He immediately began to teach:
 
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
 
In the Gospel of Matthew, these words are part of “The Sermon on the Mount.” But in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus doesn’t deliver this sermon up on the mountain top. He comes down among the people; the hurting, broken, and rejected people of the day, and tells them that there is hope for them. It’s called “The Sermon on the Plain” and it turns all the injustices of this world upside down. The poor will be rich, the hungry will be fed, the grieving will one day laugh again. In other words, Jesus erased all the lines of division that the powerful and the popular of his day had drawn. He did so by saying to them, who were also gathered, “Woe to you who are rich now, because that’s as good as it’s going to get for you. Woe to you who are full now, because you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you are about to experience pain. Woe to you who are popular, because you are just like the false prophets.”
 
In the presence of Jesus that day, the poor were encouraged, and the wealthy felt judged.The hungry went away hopeful, and the well-fed went away worried about the future. Such contrasts became a cornerstone of all of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The hurting, broken, and rejected people of His day experienced a love and acceptance like never before. It’s as if wherever Jesus traveled and whenever He showed up, he began by erasing lines of division previously drawn by others, only to replace them with wide open arms of mercy, forgiveness and grace – arms that remained outstretched all the way to the cross.
 
One must be hiding under a rock in 2019 if they cannot see big bold lines of division drawn all over our nation and world by the powerful and the popular and all who place their hope and trust in them. As faithful believers in, and followers of Jesus, we must ask what our role is in addressing these big and bold lines of division. Does our Christian walk resemble our Christian talk? As Jesus, in his compassionate yet bold way, turned all the injustices of this world upside down, perhaps we could turn our pencils upside down and demonstrate what Jesus modeled so clearly to all – the erasing of the lines.
 
Then, and now, Jesus comes into our lives – into the lives of the humble and the proud, to touch the lives of the weeping and the laughing, to bring us a single message heard in this Sunday’s text – you, and all people, are blessed because the Savior loves you – and in that we too, find hope.
 
Peace,
 
Pr. Dale