March 11, 2020
I Want To Be More Loving
March 11, 2020
Several times in the Gospels, Jesus is accused of not living up to the law of Moses. He is called to account for breaking the Sabbath by healing and by allowing his disciples to pick some grain when they were hungry. At the end of John 7, he is scolded for stopping the stoning of a woman accused of adultery, a punishment duly instituted by law. But Jesus could see into the hearts of the woman’s accusers, and he knew they could not claim they were acting for God’s justice. Jesus’ words to the accused woman gave her a chance at a new beginning and brought her back into the community of those who love God.
Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The laws—the Decalogue and other revelations of God’s will in the Torah—were given to the wandering Hebrews after they left Egypt as codes to help create a new nation for God’s people. But when laws are used as a cudgel by people who are blind to their own sin, who condemn without remembering God’s steadfast love and merciful kindness, the law is not fulfilled. The purpose of the law is to help bring God’s peace and form a loving community. The woman’s executioners did not grasp Jesus’ teaching about fulfilling the law, and they did not understand God’s love for the world that sent Jesus to wipe away our condemnation.
Paul, basing his reasoning on Jesus’ words, says this: “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself “(Gal 5:14). Paul adds no qualifications as to who or what your neighbor is. In Ezekiel God promises: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (56:26). We pray that God’s Spirit of love may rule in our hearts.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FIELD
- What do you see as barriers to the full expression of Christian love?
- How can we draw closer to God and to each other in the unity of the Spirit?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
Sing “Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart,” and talk about what it means to love like Jesus. (UMH 402)
Compassionate God, your love extends to the whole world. Open our eyes to the suffering of your people everywhere, and give us courage to make their needs our own. In Jesus’ name. Amen.