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Love Under Pressure



Human beings are under a lot of pressure. This has always been the case, but especially now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we can find ourselves living in a city full of unique pressures, and at a time when the world around us seems to be constantly buckling under pressure, and we eventually end up internalizing that pressure and carrying it with us everywhere, all the time.

What does love look like under pressure? In Matthew 11, Jesus tells the gathered crowd to learn from him, “for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Did Jesus, human as he was, ever experience pressure?

Pressure reveals our weakness, our insecurities and our fears. Jesus, when he felt pressure, became a better lover of people--unafraid and honest, loving and gracious. In the work of salvation, and as he moved toward the cross, Jesus was under immense pressure, both from the people who were persecuting him and from the knowledge that he was moving toward his own certain death. When we observe Jesus’ life under pressure, we see how pressure can refine us. The Lenten journey wants us to hone in on these themes of what is required of us in our souls at this time in order to love others better? What needs to be taken out of our lives that keeps us from this? What models do we have today?

During the season of Lent, City Church will be looking at the idea of Love Under Pressure. Our weekend sermons will focus on this theme, as will the events we are holding, starting with Pilgrimage to Peace, when Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), will be in conversation with Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth from Israel and Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian-American, about engagement in constructive conflict, peace, and the reality of life in Israel and Palestine. Shortly afterward, we will be hosting an event on The Language of Lament, asking the question, “What does it mean to grieve well after loss?” Pressure works on us in many ways, and especially in this season of Lent, we will look to Jesus’ example of peace, nonviolence, and steadfast love to understand how we can live, and love, under pressure.

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