The sun rises on all alike

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, March 18, 2021

Picture of a sunraise through evergreens, with the following Bible text superimposed: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good...” —Jesus, Matthew 5:43–45 NRSV

The other day from my living room window I enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve seen lately (see above). Beautiful sunrises were on Jesus’ mind, too, when He referred to them as an example of the Father’s grace toward all, good and bad alike, as a lesson in loving even our enemies (Matthew 5:43–45). In a sense, sunrises offer a postscript to last week’s Lenten column on Jesus washing His disciples’ feet – disciples, including reluctant Peter and Judas the betrayer.

That column prompted some inspiring responses from our readers.

HR consultant Tami Leigh commented on how much easier it is for her to serve than to receive. The account of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet recalled for her a memory from many years ago when her church did foot-washing on the Thursday before Easter (Maundy Thursday):

“The experience of having someone washing my feet left me feeling so humbled, tears streamed. It really moved me. An image of Jesus bending, kneeling, serving with a gentle display of love and care. Who am I to receive such a gift so tenderly and compassionately? 

“Serving others I find quite welcoming and easy. My mind and heart are open and willing. But receiving grace always takes me to a far more vulnerable place within, deeper, much more tender. It moves me from my human doing to more of a spiritual being. One where I realize the mercy given without earning, humbled and awed by the magnitude of that love.

“I struggled to understand what this meant to me. To bear humbly before God my vulnerability to be taken care of, nurtured, loved. Through the kindness of many, I became ‘part of,’ not ‘deserving,’ just part of the whole. I am neither great nor small; I am valued. So much so that God provides the simplest of favours to me in our relationship, God serves me as I serve God.”

International aerospace industry leader Sandford McLeod commented on the concluding line in last week’s foot-washing column, “Touched by Love, we are to be instruments of Love, not of self-importance.” He wrote:

“This is most important regarding international misunderstandings and international flash points that seem to be dramatically rising. Basic respect for each other, no matter what religious belief and nationality or culture, has been enormously eroded over the last several decades. Your last line sums it up succinctly in its plea for mutual love and respect – respect through the form and physical act itself of humble, determined washing feet of another.”

So, yes, as Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And like the sunrise that blesses both good and evil people with its beauty, let our lives glow with the mind of Christ to bring faith, hope and love to all alike.


© 2021 Warren Harbeck

Return to Coffee With Warren home page