Monday, February 10, 2014

Looking Forward to February 16, 2014 -- 6th Sunday After Epiphany

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Matthew 5:21-48
The Sermon title is Radical Rules, Common Community
Early Thoughts:  There is a part of us that does not like rules.  A part that wants to find the way around them.  A part that chafes at being restricted.  But maybe to be in community means choosing to be bound by rules, maybe even choosing to go beyond the face value of the rules?

This week we continue reading from the Sermon on the Mount.  And it strikes me that the entire Sermon on the Mount (and indeed much of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth) is trying to answer the question "How then shall we live?".

Here Jesus is openly challenging a legalistic approach to life's rules.  Other times he challenges that legalism by suggesting that there are times the rules need to be sub-ordinated to human needs.  Here he challenges a legalism that allows one to "follow the rules" and still not live up to them. Here he exhorts his hearers to live by a higher standard, to go the extra mile as it were.

It is somewhat radical, both then and now, to do what Jesus suggests.   Is there a temptation to ignore it as unrealistic?  Or to ignore some parts as being antiquated?

But then we have Deuteronomy.  This is one of my favourite passages.  The theological thought-stream that gives us Deuteronomy reminds us that our choices matter, that our choices have consequences.  So what will we choose?  Will we choose to have our behaviour bounded by rules that grow a healthy community?  Or will we choose to be stubbornly independent or even anarchistic?  There is much in our world today that speaks against what Jesus suggests.

Which choice will you make?  Which choices lead to life and that in abundance?

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