Monday, January 4, 2021
The Light (as a Child) is Here
To Guide Us
If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children for ever!
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them.
Words of Grace For Today
Religious regulations abound. They have since the beginning of time as poor humans try to force others to keep ‘good order’ in religious ways, so that others feel they control everything from life to death and everything in between.
Many regulations indeed start out as wise practices to help people stay physically healthy. For example the ancient regulations for not eating pork, back when it was very difficult to prepare it properly and it killed many people. Better safe than sorry. Today through many shifts of diseases in pigs and in humans and in practices for raising, slaughtering and preparing/cooking pork, pork is as safe as any other meat.
What used to be an advantage for beef has been lost with all the dangerous raising practices and slaughtering practices which have made safe preparation of beef as demanding as any other meat.
There are other regulations, which from ancient times have been recognized by multiple, distinct cultures as basic for the protection of life, for oneself and one’s community. We call them the ten commandments.
God and many people have sighed in despair about their people and our people: If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children for ever!
We do not keep God’s commandments, not even the ones that help us live well. And it does not go well for us and for our children. Though we know that breaking even one commandment does others and eventually us great harm, we (each and every one of us) finds ourselves compelled to excuse ourselves from having to obey. We say to ourselves: this does not apply to me, not now, not concerning this.
Exactly that kind of thinking is what the commandments could help us avoid, vigorously! Yet, we give in to temptations. Sinners we are, every last one of us!
Thank God, Jesus comes to demonstrate so clearly that exactly from this sin, our sin, God chooses to forgive us, redeem us, renew us, and send us out to do the same for all other people.
Most of us seem to get what God does for us, but that last bit: doing for others what God has done for us seems so hard to get to!
Jesus put it simply and clearly adding to the ancient command to Love God: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength: Love your neighbour as yourself. Love your enemy.
Now the doing. This is a good time to start! If not now, when?