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Church Law – A Reflection

February 18, 2020

Since preaching this past Sunday about the Law and Scripture along with the gross mid-interpretation of both; I have been thinking a lot. I have been considering how much damage the church has done to so many people in the name of law, dogma, doctrine, and an us versus them mentality. In such conflicts there aren’t really any winners… all lose so much when love is replaced by hatred, mistrust, fear, bigotry… and the list goes on.

A musician friend of ours was talking about what he sees when he is out playing his guitar and singing. As the audience sings along and shares in the stories and the laughter he doesn’t see the division and hatred. While it is definitely out there, perhaps there is more hope then we are led to believe. Frankly, I have to believe it! And we have to be a part of turning this situation around. Turning it around in our lives, our communities, our nation, and our world.

As I was reading Thomas Merton’s book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, I came across this quote. Merton was contemplating the church and her laws from his Catholic perspective. His words are equally applicable to all religions as well as for other Christians. I see the laws of the Church, and all the various ways in which she exercises her teaching authority and her jurisdiction, as subordinate to the Holy Spirit and to the law of love. (p. 84)

Subordinate to the law of love. Jesus came to fulfill the law. He was asked what is the greatest commandment. “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Our challenge, dear reader is to live our lives according the law of love. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “…now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” Love must inform our faith and our hope. That love is the love which Jesus taught his disciples and teaches us today.

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