There is NO Law Against Love
As we enter the month of June, our Scripture readings sort of take us from the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry back to its early days. He is preparing his disciples – including us – for his departure, for the Holy Spirit, for life as it must be led. Pentecost is around the corner. The Holy Spirit will alight on the apostles, open their hearts, minds, and eyes to the truth behind what Jesus had been teaching them. It also released in them the strength to go out and proclaim the Good News, especially to those who saw little good in it for them. Then, as we proceed through the Acts of the Apostles we see and begin to understand what they were up against. Yes, there was plenty of acceptance of the Word. But there was also a lot of misunderstanding, cluelessness, and hostility. Only John would live to “enjoy” old age.
Pentecost brought the Holy Spirit into play big time. Jesus had been preparing the apostles for its coming and the importance it would have in their lives and all our lives. Several times we have heard and will hear about how Jesus and the Father are one, about how if we know Jesus, we know God. Jesus is with us, in us, and we are in him. That is the Holy Spirit in action. He opened the apostles, all those who heard the Word and believed, all of us to the Light, to the influence, to the grace of God. That is why the Eucharist is so important. Jesus becomes part of us, nourishing us, giving us the wherewithal to learn, understand, and spread his Word, living out his love.
Paul will speak to us about no longer being under the yoke of the law. That doesn’t mean, “Ah-ha! Anything goes!” No, now we operate by faith in Jesus, faith in his Word of love. There is one command, according to Paul – love your neighbor as yourself. We all know that by loving God, we love our neighbor, and vice-versa. He names all the positive, loving things we would do, such as caring, kindness, generosity, etc. There is no law against them as there is against such negative, unloving things that can result from selfishness, drunkenness, strife, and the like. With Christ in us and we in Christ, we can love and (largely) avoid the opposite.
As we go through the season of Pentecost, we will relive the life of Christ and his ministry. We will learn many of the lessons his disciples were taught. And, like the apostles themselves, we will experience falling short of what Jesus asks of us. Do not despair. When we sin, stray, fall, it is not the end. No one is perfect. Everyone has fallen. Remember that Jesus is running with us, not away from us. The Spirit is always there, ready to pick us up, dust us off (maybe with a swat to the back of our head) and show us where to go (with, “Here’s a little something you’ll need to help you get there.”). Don’t give up, keep on truckin’. Read the Bible, go to church, hear the Word of God and talk about it, and pray. Take those lessons out into life and live them. Believe that we are part of the Body of Christ and what we do should be good for that body. God is in us and we are in God. That should make us feel very good. And there’s nothing wrong about that.
Beverly A. Tasy
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church