Jesus seems not to have many problems at all – not with The Law – not with The Prophets – not with God the Father – not with endless hand-wringing over so much we endlessly hand-wring about. Poverty, slavery, custom, culture, occupation, empire, do we have a rule for this or a rule for that, can we legislate that wart on society out of our lives – so many things we stress about, pontificate over, deem significant, important, critical and crucial. Jesus doesn’t seem to hand-wring very much at all.
But there are a couple of hot buttons: manmade rules replacing The Law, and the consequence of replacing The Law with manmade rules.
“Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.” You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’
Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, “Honour your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.’” Mark 7:1-13
The Law has consequences. It is Love. Manmade rules have consequences. It is division. And fear is the consequence of division. And just what might be the consequence of fear?
The absence of Love.
God so gets it … Jesus so gets it … we all so really truly and intuitively “get it” – we all want to be free to love and be loved.
So why do we rarely feel free? Rarely feel loved.
Maybe because we all teach and preach – in all walks of life – in all corners of the earth – in all shapes and sizes – in every circumstance for success individually and as a society: follow the rules. There must be order, for without order there is chaos.
And the consequence of “order without chaos”?
A fear so embracing and timeless it becomes normal. It even becomes comforting. It becomes reliable. It becomes our identify and our religion. It becomes love. We know nothing other. We make more and more rules to “keep fear out” – to keep us “safe” – all the while never admitting it simply ties us to fear more and more.
We have fine tuned our relationship with fear. And where there is fear …
Does that strike you as a little odd?