39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. 43 ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. Matthew 5:39-45
I had completely managed to forget about Matthew 5:41 until I saw a post about it from Ten Thousand Places. I can’t believe I’d not picked up on this, but at least I have, now. If you are required to go a mile for a person, go the second mile.
Once again, if we don’t know history, we don’t know the importance of that passage. Roman soldiers were required to march great distances with a very heavy back, or kit on their backs. The marching was almost endless, when one considers the fact that the empire stretched from Britannia into Africa, from the Atlantic into Asia Minor. It was massive. Not only was it huge, but every inch of the way was crossed with extremely well-built roads, the likes of which are still there. They were some of the greatest ‘super-highways’ ever constructed – and the first.
We have a tendency to forget, today, with our limited knowledge of history, how Rome controlled the world. One of the rules was, when Roman soldiers were marching, they could grab someone and make them carry their backpacks, a firka, which would weigh upward of 100 pounds.
One of the things rarely discussed in today’s revisionary and lackadaisical history is the fact that, at the time, Judea was basically in a state of quasi-revolt. There are some sources which suggest that Mary’s family were involved in revolutionary politics. At the time, the Messiah was thought to be a military leader, who would lead the Jewish nation from its oppressors. I suspect there were many people in Judea who were in total denial when they discovered the Messiah was a man of peace, who taught things like going the extra mile for an enemy – or relieving the man’s burdens.
Or, if someone who pretends to be a Christian is ‘forced’ to bake a wedding cake for a gay or lesbian wedding, bake them two. Make them two pizzas instead of one. Give them two bunches of flowers instead of two But, unfortunately, in this all for nothing world of far right so-called Christian politics, Christ has been pushed aside.
Frankly, I don’t know why you would refuse service to anyone. Christ is love. They will know we are Christians by our love, not our hate. Frankly, I don’t think people who would with-hold services to anyone who is gay, lesbian, black, white, green, short, tall, thin, or obese because they say it violates their Christian faith is a Christian at all.
Father, please forgive them.