Running the copier: A parable of loving enemies

She didn’t wait to sit down.

“Information,” she said.

“What?” I said. I had barely turned away from my keyboard to get started with today’s conversation.

After writing “Information” on my whiteboard, she sat down. “That’s our sun and rain. God has rain and sun that he can bless people with. For many of us, the thing that we have to to show that we can love our enemies is information.“

I must have looked confused. Mostly because I was.

“Look,” she said, elbows on the desk. “Let me illustrate before I explain. You know how to run the copy machine. You do do it all the time. On Sunday mornings, people show up here ready to run copies so they can teach. And they come to you. Sometimes they say, ‘How can I get some copies?’ Sometimes they say, the copier is stuck. Sometimes they say, ‘do you know how to shrink this?’”

I nodded. It happens every week.

“What goes through your head? How do you respond?”

“That’s easy,” I said. “I take them to the copy machine.”

She smiled. “Always? Do you ever say “You just push that button”? Do you ever think, “why couldn’t you do this earlier in the week? Do you ever think about not sharing the information with everyone?”

She held up her hand. “You don’t have to answer that. Some of those people will read this. And if you confess to doing anything other than willingly smiling and helping, you will get in trouble. You’re the pastor. You have to help.”

I shrugged.

“But that’s what I mean by having information. Loving your enemies, in that situation, means giving help to everyone, regardless of what they think of you. People you like, people you don’t like. People who like you, people who don’t. You provide what you are called to provide.”

“You always give me homework,” she said. “It’s my turn. What are some other examples of rain and sun? And, while you are thinking about that, how far does this go?”

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.