Lighting A Way
February 11, 2019
“Thy word in a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
These words from Psalm 119 are one verse of 176 verses that extol the decrees of the Lord on which the faithful psalmist meditates day and night. With hot indignation, the psalmist chastises the arrogant and the insolent. The psalmist extols the virtue of those “whose way is blameless, who keep God’s decree’s and seek God with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in God’s way.”
Jesus also talks about the way, the way, the truth and the life we are called to live in him. So what is Jesus’ way? What is the way of the one who proclaims, “ I have come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.”? Jesus knew the law of his religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees who walked around as Torah thumpers pointing to law as a don’t do this; don’t do that practice. Jesus’ way was the way of grace that said, “you say…. But I say…” Let them come. Come unto me. Let us love one another, for love is of God. Could it be that we have forgotten the call to love one another as we have been loved. Is love the way? Is grace the way?
The preacher stood to tell the congregation about A Way Forward and the General Conference that will take place at the end of this month. She was grace filled in talking about our differences and she called for breathing deeply and listening. At the end of the hour, a church member stood and asked where is the word of God in this discussion. Show me the passages. As an observer, I must say this question hit me as almost a rebuke of grace. (Note: I could be wrong.) Show me how the Bible is represented. Show me the law that says homosexuality is OK. That may not have been the speaker’s intent, but that is the tenor of what I heard.
In the early 1940s a German theologian, Nels Ferre, wrote a little book titled The Sun and the Umbrella. The thesis of his book is that too often we block the sun and its light with various umbrellas we raise. Ferre’s list of umbrellas is quite surprising. He lists the Bible as one of the umbrellas we raise in our religious piety that blocks the Light of God from our view. We stumble over the ore holding every verse with the same value as gold, while we miss the gold of true life, abundant life in the unity of the Spirit.
In my own family and my own experience there are such differences in the way we see the world and all the issues of contemporary life, without living grace, forgiveness, humility and love, we would barely be able to get through a Thanksgiving meal together, much less rise up to be the living witness of Christ for the world. Spirit of God, come down upon us. Guide us in your righteousness to that place of oneness in you. Heal our broken places and light our path with the Light that is You. Amen.