This coming Sunday’s scripture readings set some high standards.
First, there’s the checklist from Leviticus: No stealing, swindling or lying. OK. Leave food for the poor and the foreigner. Hmm. Care for the deaf and the blind. No partiality in dealing with the rich or the poor. Hmmm. No bad mouthing people, no profiting at the expense of others. No hating, no vengeance. Hmmmm. Love your neighbor as yourself. Always?
Jesus echoes these standards in the reading from Matthew and concludes: “Be perfect.”
We might react to this scripture in a few ways:
– Be crushed in recognizing that we will never live up to all of those standards, all of the time.
– Lower the bar, hope to hit the 80 or 90 percent range, maybe a high “B” on our final report card, and rely on God’s mercy when the honor roll comes out.
– Write them off as ancient standards that, like many of the practices and rules found in Leviticus, don’t apply to the real world we live in today.
How do you react? What do you draw from these standards? How do you reconcile the world we live in with the world as God would have it?
— Pastor Mark Rollenhagen