Sunday, May 03, 2015

If You Love Me, Why Won't You Bless My ______?

Today's Gospel reading was John 14:15-21 which is pretty much self-explanatory except for one detail that people argue about (highlighted),
Jesus said to his disciples, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."
The lectionary tries to manage the problematic detail, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" by adding 1 John 3:(14-17)18-24 which contains,
"And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another"
Isn't this precisely what most Christian arguments boil down to, "How do we love one another?"

Is it love to sugar coat scripture so as not to offend those who otherwise would have to cover their ears when Jesus speaks on marriage, divorce, and adultery or when the Apostles speak against sexual immorality and homosexual behavior?

Is it love to bless things which scripture condemns?

It is not love as it creates a rite within the Church which conflicts with a clear reading of scripture. Condoning and living with such a conflict will only increase doubt, and it will ultimately diminish belief in the very name of Jesus Christ himself.

Should we abhor anything if love is what it is all about? I think yes, especially things which lead to more doubt because,
The tension between belief and doubt is the battlefield of Christian obedience. The stakes are very high. Faith is called on to direct all our actions (Heb. 11; James 2:18; Rom. 14:23). In the Christian, unbelief leads to timidity, error, and disobedience. A life of faith leads to courage, discernment, and obedience. In that tension we live every day. The fight for faith is the very real struggle of the Christian life (Eph. 4:13–14). - Tony Reinke, the author of "Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books" (2011) and "Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ" (2015).
If ye love Him, keep fighting for the faith.

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