READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 4:9-10, 19-28
Psalms: Psalms 70, 71
New Testament: Romans 2:12-24
Gospel: John 5:19-29
Evening Psalms: Psalms 74
“All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law….Indeed when Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, their thoughts now accusing, even defending them. “
I am a person who shows up on time, meets deadlines at work, and generally does what needs to be done without a lot of fuss. So it might surprise some people to know that I really dislike having a lot of rules. This might be a result of my baby boomer upbringing with lots of rules at home (no drinking soda, and a glass of milk at each meal. My bones thank you, Mom and Dad!), at church (females had to wear a hat or scarf, even a crumpled Kleenex, but never a bare head), and school (No talking in the lunchroom, “Chatty Mary”). I figured out quite early that it was best to just follow the rules, as it was a whole lot easier to stay out of trouble than to get into trouble and then have to face the consequences.
I spent about 10 years in early adulthood as an “unchurched” person. On the few occasions when I got myself to a church service, I found myself chafing at the “rules” and not wanting to return. But during those years I did continue to believe, and I regularly prayed. When I found myself joining an Episcopal church, part of the appeal was the lack of emphasis on rules. Not that there are no expectations, but it felt to me as if the rules came from the heart and conscience. After all, wasn’t Jesus quite the rule breaker himself? The man who touched the lepers, counted women among his friends, and put those with the least before those who had the most?
Lord help me to follow the basic rules given us by your son, to love You with all my heart and soul and mind and to love my neighbor as myself. If I follow these two basic rules, I believe I will live the life You want me to live. Amen.