Worship for Sunday 20th February 2022, by Rev. Krystyna Kwarciak

Call To Worship:  

The enemy:
            love them
The oppressor:
            walk the mile with them
The Master:
            turn the other cheek to them

This doormat faith
seems too much to bear
in a world where those who bully
always seem to win

The enemy:
            imbalance them with love
The oppressor:
            shame the law that oppresses
The Master:
           turn the cheek as an equal

This rebellious faith
seems too much to bear
in a world where those who bully
are loved back to justice by the bullied

But this is heaven’s revolution
and we are called into it
come let us worship
love’s rebel, Jesus


Opening Prayer:

Lord, the hardest thing you asked
Was that we love our enemies.

We know how we’d like to love them:
We’d love our enemies to be far away.
We’d love them not to compromise our security.
We’d love them not to scare us or change the way we live.
We’d love them to be lovable.

You know, God,
We’d love it to be popular to love enemies.
We’d love our neighbours to respect us for this good deed.
We’d love the people on the news to provide examples of how to love.

But then, if loving enemies were easy,
Jesus wouldn’t have told us about the tax collectors and gentiles,
Who love only their friends.
If loving enemies were easy, we know
We wouldn’t need God’s strong arms to bear us up in difficult times.
We wouldn’t need the blood of Christ to save us from human sin.
We wouldn’t need the Spirit flowing among us, wiping our tears.
We wouldn’t need the Bible to tell us what the world does not.

God of all mercy,
Who loved us when we were your sinful enemies,
Who saved us through your immeasurable grace,
Who gave us a gift we did not deserve,
Let us imitate you by loving those who are yet our enemies.

Teach us to know how to love enemies,
To wish them the best of the life you intend each human to have,
And then pray and act so those wishes come true.
Teach us hope,

so we know that with your blessing, impossible dreams become reality.
Teach us faith,

so we know that only the strength to stop hating

will halt the cycles of violence and revenge.
Teach us forgiveness,

which we know is suffering love through piercing tears.
Teach us, O Lord, your ways.

When our community looks at our congregation,
Hears our words and sees our deeds,
Help them to know that you, the God of love, live among us
And that they can come to us to learn about Christian love of enemies.


StF 423: ‘Forgive our sins as we forgive’


‘Forgive our sins as we forgive,’
you taught us, Lord, to pray,
but you alone can grant us grace
to live the words we say.

How can your pardon reach and bless
the unforgiving heart,
that broods on wrongs and will not let
old bitterness depart?

In blazing light your cross reveals
the truth we dimly knew:
what trivial debts are owed to us,
how great our debt to you!

Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls,
and bid resentment cease;
then, bound to all in bonds of love,
our lives will spread your peace.


Luke 6,27-38

Love for Enemies

‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’


After reading the gospel passage for today many of us are probably secretly wishing that Jesus hadn’t said this. What exactly does it mean to love our enemies? Are we supposed to politely smile at people who are rude or openly hostile towards us? What does it mean to do good to those who hate us? Should we bake a batch of brownies and give them to someone who loathes us with every fibre of their being? What would be the point of that? To kill them with kindness?

How do we bless those who curse us without allowing abusive people to wound us again and again

I wish I had an easy answer regarding what it looks like to follow these commands, but I don’t. In this very challenging Bible reading Jesus is reaching deep down inside of us. He is shining a light on attitudes and feelings we would rather keep hidden. He is showing us parts of ourselves that we don’t like to see or that are too painful for us to deal with. We are each left to ponder what it means to follow these commands in our own lives, in different situations.

I would like to suggest one possible interpretation of this passage:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Christian author from Nigeria, gave a powerful TED Talk that you can find on YouTube. It has been viewed over 17 million times and is entitled “The Danger of a Single Story.” In this TED Talk she tells the story of a childhood memory of Fide, her family’s houseboy.

Growing up, the only thing she ever heard about Fide was how poor he was. Then one day Adichie went to visit Fide’s family in his village. Fide’s brother showed them a beautiful, ornate basket that he had made. Adichie was shocked. It had not occurred to her that anyone in his family could make anything.

Adichie says, “All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.”

Adichie then asks the audience, “Have you ever been the victim of a single story told about you?”

She points out that when we tell only one story over and over about a person or group, then they become a stereotype. Their single story is a political tool used by the powerful to label someone as the “other,” and prevents us from making connections with them as human equals. Adichie ends her TED Talk with an urgent plea to remember that every person, group, and nation has not one story but many.

If we apply Adichie’s wisdom to Jesus’ command to “love our enemies,” we begin to realise that labelling someone as our ‘enemy’ is telling only a single story about them. It’s simplifying how we feel about them, so that we can easily write them off, and have nothing to do with them.  When we tell a single story about certain people, it’s so much easier to forget that they too are beloved children of God. Perhaps Jesus told us to love our enemies to teach us that love always keeps an open mind, tries to understand other people’s perspective and attempts to build bridges.

Perhaps a good first step towards following Jesus’ very challenging command ‘to love our enemies’ is to make sure we are not telling a single story about any of them. And maybe our kindness towards them, will help to change the story they tell themselves about us?

Discussion questions:

1) What does it mean to do good to those who hate you? How does this go just beyond the idea of “love your enemies?”

2) How is a believer’s love different from a non-believer’s love? Why should it be?


StF 649: God! When human bonds are broken

God! When human bonds are broken

and we lack the love or skill

to restore the hope of healing,

give us grace and make us still.


Through that stillness, with your Spirit

come into our world of stress,

for the sake of Christ forgiving

all the failures we confess.


You in us are bruised and broken:

hear us as we seek release

from the pain of earlier living;

set us free and grant us peace.


Send us, God of new beginnings,

humbly hopeful into life;

use us as a means of blessing:

make us stronger, give us faith.


Give us faith to be more faithful,

give us hope to be more true,

give us love to go on learning:

God! Encourage and renew!


Closing Prayers:

“But I say to you who hear,

love your enemies, do good to those who you hate,

bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  – Luke 6:27-28


Meditate on the above verses from Scripture and as you ponder who some of the people you consider “enemies” are.  When a name (or names) pop into your head, write the person’s initials on a piece of paper.

While holding the piece of paper in your hand, say a “prayer of blessing” for the person you wrote down.


Holy Jesus,

You call us into a life that others think is easy, but it is not.

You challenge us to forgive, to love our enemies,

to bless those who curse us.

We want the easy way,

but You have given us the hard path.

Grant us the patience and endurance to journey with You,

to allow ourselves at times to stumble,

to live into the hard way

so that we might fully experience

Your love, grace and peace in this world,

by becoming a people full of love and grace

who bless and forgive others.


In Your name we pray:


Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, 

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom


The power, and the glory

For ever and ever.



StF 615: Let love be real, in giving and receiving

Let love be real, in giving and receiving,

without the need to manage and to own;
a haven free from posing and pretending,
where every weakness may be safely known.
Give me your hand, along the desert pathway,
give me your love wherever we may go:
as God loves us, so let us love each other,
with no demands, just open hands and space to grow.

Let love be real, not grasping or confining,
that strange embrace that holds yet sets us free;
that helps us face the risk of truly living,
and makes us brave to be what we might be.
Give me your strength when all my words are weakness,
give me your love in spite of all you know:
as God loves us, so let us love each other,
with no demands, just open hands and space to grow.

Let love be real, with no manipulation,
no secret wish to harness or control;
let us accept each other ‘s incompleteness,
and share the joy of learning to be whole.
Give me your hope through dreams and disappointments,
give me your trust when all my failings show:
as God loves us, so let us love each other,
with no demands, just open hands and space to grow.


We have sung the songs of faith.

We have heard the challenges of scripture.

Let us go now,

continuing our sacred journey

in an attitude of service and grace.

Let us love our enemies

and pray for those who do us harm.

Let us care for those who are evil

as well as for those who are good,

knowing how to set boundaries.

And the presence of our God goes with us.