January 18, 2010

Looking Ahead to January 24, 2010 -- 3rd Sunday After Epiphany

The Scripture Readings for this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
  • Psalm 19 (VU p.740)
  • From the Letters of the Church: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

The Hymns for this week are:
  • #245 Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet
  • #356 Seek Ye First
  • #679 Let There Be Light
  • #232 Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You

The Sermon Title is Law: Burden or Blessing???

Early Thoughts: Well which is it? Is the Law an onerous obligation or a gift?

Over and over again we are reminded that the Way of Jesus is not meant to be a legalistic path. Grace has, we are told by Paul, superseded the Law. But then again Jesus is supposed to have said "I come to fulfil the law, not to abolish it". And in this passage we are told that the people wept and celebrated upon hearing the reading (with interpretation) of the Law.

Psalm 19 says
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes
This hardly describes something onerous or something that has been imposed.

Jewish Tradition sees Law as God's gift, indeed one of God's greatest gifts. Christian tradition tends to denigrate the Law all the while creating a whole new legalistic structure about who is "right" with God and what is allowed. What would it take for us to see the Law as a gift? How would that change our approach to life? Maybe we get there by asking what life without law would be like?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for phrasing it this way, as burden or blessing; I've been playing with that idea but hadn't quite gotten the handle I need to keep moving. What springs to mind is a sign as one enters a nearby community. The top portion has the city's logo and says in large letters "Welcome to LCF." Blessing, yes? But beneath that is something like 21 lines on 3 additional signs of laws related to parking, loitering, sleeping, etc. on the local streets...definitely burden! We are torn by the desire to welcome and the need--perceived, and most likely accurate--for laws that control how we express welcome/relationships/interactions.