It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Law and Love and Church, a Reflection on Romans 13:8-10

Paul cites specific commandments which deal with behavior toward other people, behavior that destroys relationships (see Exodus 20:13-17). He says all of these specific commandments as well as any other commandments can be summed up in this one command, "Love your neighbor as yourself." He is echoing Moses. You may remember that in the center of the purity regulations that the Lord spoke to Moses was "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 19:18).

"The way to fulfill the law, the way to live the way God intends for us to live," Paul says, "is to love."

Krister Stendhal, in his Final Account, Paul's Letter to the Romans, reminds us that church people in particular may need to hear this command to love one another:
"Knowledge puffs up, and love builds up, and Paul is not using that language in order to say that there is much love in the church. On the contrary, he said, if you are going to be a church, and if you are going to be able to stand such distressing fellow Christians as we Christians often are to one another, and as we find ourselves to be, you surely need love. Love is measured by the amount of tension it can take, not by how it feels."

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