Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
"Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)
This quote from the Sermon on the Mount is an interesting one. Jesus seems to be squarely claiming the importance of following the rules right down to the finest detail. This isn’t surprising really. After all, shouldn’t he be saying things like that? The thing is, though, Jesus and his disciples seem to break the rules fairly often. They do work on the Sabbath. They heal on the Sabbath. They often speak with the authority of God. They break the rules, thereby raising the question: are rules meant to be followed or broken?
Spiritual teacher Richard Rohr offers an insightful perspective on this conundrum with the suggestion that, “People who know how to creatively break the rules also know why the rules were there in the first place.” I think this gets at the heart of it. Spiritually speaking, the commandments were never written to be blindly followed. They were also never written to be blatantly broken or ignored. They were written to transform the heart. That is their intent, their reason for being. Jesus held a deep understanding of this truth, allowing him to both speak strongly about the rules while also creatively breaking them. When a rule or practice was not fulfilling the intent for its existence, Jesus would reframe it with phrases like, “You have heard it said, but I say to you…” When a practice was fulfilling its intent, Jesus would lift it up high, because rules of faith, practices of faith, beliefs of faith are meant to transform the heart.
Published on 03/07/2016 @ 8:39 PM CDT