Tagged: Ethics

Romans 13:8-14

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on September 10, 2017.

Paul’s vision for how to live like a citizen of heaven in the world of the Roman Empire blends theology and ethics. He is concerned with what Christians are to do in the world and why they are to do it. Romans 13:8-14 deals with personal conduct in such a manner.

From Paul’s perspective, the ideal Christian life leaves us with only one ongoing debt: that we love others. Paul, of course, has agape, self-giving love for the sake of the other, in mind.

Such love builds and protects genuine community, whether between God and humanity or among humans. Paul points to some of the injunctions found in the second table of the Ten Commandments as negative examples of community building agape in action. When we love one another, we do not break relationships by committing adultery, taking lives, coveting others’ possessions and the like. Instead, we consciously and vigorously treat others as we might wish them to treat us.

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Matthew 5:21-37

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on February 16, 2014.

Jesus had a high regard for Hebrew Scripture. In fact he proclaimed himself to be the fulfillment of it and proceeded to authoritatively commented on it. Jesus dealt with the law like a craftsman. He worked as a carpenter, tasked to restore a fine old piece of furniture. He worked through layers of abuse and misuse to bring out the original form – the heart of the piece. He allowed the original intent to emerge. In Matthew 5:21-37 Jesus gets to the heart of the matter concerning anger, adultery, divorce and integrity. The reader can easily become frustrated in this section because of his or her unfamiliarity with rabbinic tools like hyperbole. This should not keep the bible reader from lingering in these passages. A key is to look for the big themes in the midst of the details. Continue reading