Thursday, March 12, 2009

Daily Office Reflection: Hearing, Believing

Psalms 70, 71 * 74; Jeremiah 4:9-10,19-28; Romans 2:12-24; John 5:19-29

Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life....

There are times in life where I like to think the old adage As I believe so will it be, is true. Most times that is proven not to be the case though. As with most things in life, things are rarely straight forward and are much more complicated with lots of shades of gray. 

What does it mean to believe? What is eternal life? Some faith traditions set out iron clad  rules and regulations and belief structures: do this and you will have eternal life. Believe this and you will have eternal life. There are no shades of gray for these traditions. You are either in or you are out.

With the varied human conditions from which we all suffer and are gifted, I do not believe God ever intended one strict set grouping of rules and regulations could apply to everyone. The way to eternal life is more involved, more complicated than simply following strict rules. Jesus is asking us to hear him and follow his lead. Hear him when he says: Love God, Love your neighbor as yourselves. Everything else hangs from those branches of wisdom. Set rules may help some follow these commandments of Jesus, but a one size fits all approach is a recipe for disaster. A more nuanced approach to life and to hearing Jesus and believing is what Jesus is guiding us to today. Conforming our responses to people and situations with Jesus' words in the forefront of our mind will bring with it a multi-textured understanding of life and God's close and loving relationship to each and every one of us.

Copyright 2009, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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