As a child, I sat at the Fourth and Forest church of Christ, drinking in those Bible stories.
And brothers and sisters? I have to tell you that I was troubled. I was troubled that the people of that time just didn’t seem to Get It, that they were so invested in following the law to the T that they missed the bigger issue, that they needed to STFU and listen, that they were like recalcitrant children who kept asking Jesus for detailed instructions, when his message was not a list of do’s-and-don’ts, but love.
I mean: Love. The new commandment — the rule of law, as it were — was, straight from Jesus, love. Not “love if you agree with their sexual orientation or gender identification,” not “love if they’re heterosexual,” but just that: Love.
Yet even his early followers seemed more comfortable arguing about the letter of the law, and not the spirit. According to that linked scripture, from II Corinthians, the letter kills.
I mean, how stupid was that to keep going back to that dry well? Jesus was here for a short time on earth, He worked some miracles, spread the love, and still his followers asked for instructions? And then they just couldn’t understand why he’d act out that love over and over again.
“Jesus, why are you eating with sinners? Are we supposed to eat with sinners? And what about the whole sacrifice-doves-only-on-Tuesday thing?” I mean, c’mon.
My Sunday school days are decades in the past, but I keep thinking about my childish disdain of those people who could have touched Jesus’ garment, but chose instead to parse the details.
And then I think that so many of us believers are still missing the point, still asking for detailed instructions, still worried about who’s on the naughty list, and who’s on the nice when it’s all in there already. Love. Stop focusing on the letter of the law. Stop worrying what God thinks about same-sex couples, oh ye lovers of Kim Davis, and start thinking about the hungry in your neighborhood. Stop arguing about sexuality. The topic didn’t get much attention from Jesus, who was too busy helping those who needed help. Food. Homes. And yes: Love.
So get over yourself, get out of the judgment seat, get busy, and for Christ’s sake, be a Christian.
Amen!! Awesome sermon!
Ha. Now do I get to pass the plate? Because I could really use the money.
As if you’d actually keep anything collected in that plate! ;-)
Thank you for that post, Susan! Those thoughts have long been on my mind; that Jesus’s ministry was one of LOVE – that’s it, just LOVE. He hung out with women, children, lepers, Samaritans, tax collectors, pretty much anyone who was on the fringes of society to show us just what he meant, and still we don’t “get it”. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were living among us today, he would be a champion of those same marginalized populations, spreading his message of LOVE. I often think of our Christian leaders of various religions (and their fundamentalist followers who say they take every verse literally) like the Pharisees of Jesus’s day, so full of self righteousness because they could quote Bible verses and think only they have the correct interpretation. I certainly don’t have all the answers. I always have more questions than answers! But when in doubt, I err on the side of LOVE. Thanks again!
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That’s always a good guide, isn’t it? Err on the side of love.
I don’t think it’s possible to err on the side of love. Unconditional love is its own reward. Jesus said it.
If you can’t muster love … try leeway. Then tolerance. Then restraint. ;) But … shoot for all four?
I feel like I’ve just been to church! Thank you for the reminder.
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