He stood up to read.
           He found the place where it was written:
           “The Spirit of God is upon me…
           to let the oppressed go free,
           and to proclaim the year of God’s favor.”
           And he rolled up the scroll,
           gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
                           —Luke 4.16-19

Watch how Jesus does scripture:
the passage in Isaiah actually says,
“to proclaim the year of God’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God.”
But Jesus stops with favor,
leaves out vengeance, and sits down.
Call it cherry-picking.
Scripture is replete with images
of God as vengeful and God as forgiving.
But vengeance is not forgiveness.
God isn’t sort of this and sometimes that.
You have to choose. You don’t get both.
Jesus chooses.
(He quotes Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifices.”)
No matter what your sacred books say
you have to choose:
the way of vengeance, power and domination,
or the way of courage, love and nonviolence.
Though he has reason not to,
Jesus chooses the side of love.
And when he asks you, and you falter, don’t worry.
He’ll still choose the way of love.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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