Thursday, November 29, 2007

Romans 13:8-14

Advent 1 – Year A

Romans 13:8-14

The Message reports Romans 13:10 as: "You can't go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love."

This advice for the present turns out to be very helpful whether you are looking at things in terms of readiness or envisioning a future where we don't play war anymore.

To be constantly on guard for every little misstep is exhausting. It does, however, make one very proficient in legalistic justifications as per literalistic fundamentalists who know the nth degree of truth about every jot and tittle in Scripture.

Very much like telling the truth eases one's mind (keeping track of multiple story lines and who has what information is tiring), having one golden orientation eases life toward joy and thanksgiving. In this case, instead of trying to live up to all rules all the time, it will be sufficient to focus on one behavior that resolves the rest – love others.

What is unexpected about this approach is that it turn out to be ready for every unexpected occasion. It is not silly liberal claptrap advocated by bleeding hearts. It is the needed following of Jesus' advice to be ready – ready by doing what he did, loving others.

Likewise, what is a world without war but a world of mutual care and love. We see it in the future. It is possible to move in that direction by what we do. Not only can we see it, we can have a hand in both preparing for this world without war and actually participating in it right now.

You can't go wrong when you love others. This is a progressive panacea. Try it, you'll like it. Realistically, you'll eventually like it. Its one difficulty is that it throws everything up for grabs in the shortrun - all our learned rules will band together against it until it becomes an ingrained way of life.

The night is far gone. We have wasted enough time in trying to always be ready and to minutely define a future before actually practicing some of it today. Let us live honorably by putting on the love Jesus had for others.

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