Peace be with you all from our Lord Jesus Christ!
The gospel according to Matthew that was read from the altar here today is one of my favorite Bible stories. Jesus is talking to his disciples and explaining for them how important it is to love your neighbor. And when Jesus is talking to his disciples he is talking to us at the same time. We are his disciples and his words are everlasting to his disciples of all times. In these words he is teaching us what it means to be a Christian human being. Jesus is always teaching us how to act towards others, how to serve and how to show love. If we look at the gospels very closely we discover that he talks more about how we should act towards other human beings than how we should act towards God. That is amazing!
Of course Jesus talks about praying, and he teaches us how to pray. In his famous sermon on the Mount he says: Matt. 6:5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray……and he teaches us the Lords prayer.
But most of the sermon on the Mount is about how we should behave against each other founded on our relationship with God. Our life is like a cross. We should have constant good relationship with God based on love and that relationship should influence everything we do. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ says Jesus and he adds: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
After that he tells the story of the Good Samaritan. He is the most important figure in all his teachings and we are all called to follow him in his footsteps. He helps the wounded man, he does not ask him, which nationality he is, he does not ask which religion he follows, and he does not ask which country he came first to from his homeland! The wounded man is a foreigner and it did not please people in those days to help people from other nations. But this man acts differently. He just helps without any questions and that is the way we should help everybody in need without questions.
The story of the Good Samaritan is the core of Christianity. It is not more complicated than that. But Jesus knows this can be hard in our world. He knows that the world is full of hatred and hostility. He knows about the wars and hardships that so many people have to face. This is why forgiveness is so important in his teaching. Forgive us, oh Lord, because we are all imperfect, nobody is perfect and Jesus understands that so well. That is the reason he wants to help us in this world. He wants to help us to live in the love that he showed us.
We all live on one planet, planet that is becoming smaller and smaller. It doesn´t take long to fly from one continent to the other and with the help of the internet we can communicate from one end of the world to the other in seconds. This should help us all to be one big family.
God didn´t create borders. God didn´t create different religions. God didn´t create agreements like the Dublin Regulation
Jesus said: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Birds do not respect borders. They fly across them whenever they want to. The fish of the sea don´t respect borders either. They swim across the oceans of the world like they want to. Likewise should it be with human beings. We should be able to travel where we want to and live where we choose to live. Nobody should have to live where there is war. War is against the will of God.
Jesus preaches peace in all his teaching. He wants peace, not war. And we should not agree to live where there is war. This is why we support every human being who wants to flee from places where there is war. It is God´s will to leave places where there is war and seek places where there is peace.
We here in Iceland live in peace, thanks be to God, that we don´t suffer from war. Of course we don´t agree on everything and our politics can sometimes be rough. And of course here exist people who commit crime, like everywhere in the world, but we don´t suffer from war. Thanks to God.
This is why we should offer everybody who is hungry, thirsty, stranger, who needs clothes, is sick or in prison help. We should always remember the words of Jesus, and always see him in the eyes of everybody in need. Jesus calls us to receive everybody who seeks protection here in Iceland, everybody who is fleeing war or injustice.
Jesus calls us to receive everybody, not only Christians. We should receive them not because they are Christian, but because we are Christian.
Christians are persecuted all over the world. They are persecuted in Africa and Asia, here in Europe and everywhere, but nevertheless people still decide to become Christians although they know they will be persecuted for it. I have meat a whole family who had to flee from their country only because they were Christians. This is a terrible situation.
People of all religion are persecuted for so many reasons, for their religion, for their sexual orientation or for simply being women. The church wants to support every persecuted person. The church wants to support everybody who suffers. The church want to support all refuges, what ever their religion is, whatever their, sexual orientation is and what ever their sex is. We as Christians are called to do so.
To be a Christian means you fight for peace and justice. The Christian thought is a spirit of love, not the spirit of hatred, not the spirit of war. Jesus says: Matt. 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
This is the main reason we should all support and stand by people who are fleeing from their home. Let us all show them love, friendship and warmth in the spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord. Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. So that was the beginning and will forever. -Amen.
Guðspjall: Matt. 25:31-36
Predikun flutt í guðsþjónustu í Breiðholtskirkju þar sem rík áhersla var lögð á tilvist flóttafólks í þjóðfélaginu sem börn Guðs.