April 20, 2014 3 Comments
I want to pick up on something Jess said this morning about how the world perceives us as Christians, she said this in her article.
Yet, how divided we appear to the world. How unable to take on board His message that we should ‘be one’ and that it would be through our mutual love that we would show the world who our Lord was. We say much, but too often what we say to each other sounds to the listening world negative and limiting. Pope Francis was not saying we should not talk about sexual sins and abortion, indeed he has rightly said abortion is a dreadful crime against humanity, but he was reminding us that there is a media out there which will always take the chance to make us sound as though we are obsessed with negative – ‘do not do this’. Yet we are reminded, on this greatest of days, that Jesus’ formulation of the Law was a positive one:
And she is right, the world often perceives us as entirely negative. But in reality, we are by far the most permissive people in the world, even as our Jewish forebearers were before us. We have only ten rules, laws, commandments, whatever you care to call them.
I wrote this a while back, as the start of a post, and never managed to bring it to completion, but it fits well here, and makes the point I want to make today.
Three little words, what a change they have made in the world.
Three little words, repeated ten times, with various simple clauses that have transformed the ancient world of thugs and tribes to the modern world
Three little words, from God’s lips to our ears (and eyes).
But it’s important to remember that God reserves judgement to him, not us.
It’s also remarkable that there are only ten.
There are no long lists of proscribed things
Nor are there long lists of prescribed things, only ten proscriptions.
In any time and place it’s a very permissive code of conduct, and yet because of that very fact, it has allowed civilization to flourish, especially western civilization.
And that is the key, isn’t it? It’s very permissiveness has allowed the modern world to develop, and the reason it has developed most in Northern Europe and the parts of the world descended from it, is that the laws of those principalities, have followed suit. They have taught us what we must not do, and left us free to do all else.
This isn’t true elsewhere, if we look at Roman law codes or Islamic law, we will find that you must do these things and you must not do anything else, unless you first get permission from the prince. And those societies have stagnated over the centuries.
GK Chesterton had this to say
“The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.”
And he also said, and this is quite pertinent to history that,
When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy.
You get the small laws.
But, you know while Easter is the holiest day of the year for us, we all remember how excited we were about the easter bunny coming,when we were kids, so let’s lighten up for a few minutes, and celebrate our child like status, after all we were all reborn in our faith this morning