Scripture Luke 23:33-43
This week we are all gearing up for a festive holiday. Families across America are going to gather around their tables expressing what they are thankful for. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving is the one holiday that my mom’s side of the family would all attend, so it was the only holiday that was fully celebrated. Thanksgiving is such an ingrained holiday in our nation that we sometimes forget that it is not observed worldwide. It would probably surprise us that Thanksgiving was not a holiday started by the church. Sure it was created to mimic or mirror festivals in scripture but Thanksgiving, as we know it was a creation of the United States government. It is a holiday that people around the world are curious about, because it does not follow the same ideas of most secular holidays. Memorial day, originally called Decoration Day, celebrates those who died in service to their country. Veterans day, originally Armistice Day, celebrated the end of World War 1 and those that served in the war to end all wars, and later honored all those who have served in the military. Labor Day celebrates the working class and the efforts of those that worked so hard to bring better working conditions to all people that work in our nation. Independence Day celebrates the declaration of our independence from the tyrannical rule of England. Each holiday celebrates something about our nation in some way, but Thanksgiving is a secular holiday that differs from the rest. Its roots emerge from the celebration of survival. It celebrates the preservation of a nation as well as its people. It is religious as well as political. It emerged out of the wedded Church and State of England, but took on a different tone in the colonies.
We know the historical tradition of the Pilgrims celebrating a day of thanksgiving with the Native people of the area, celebrating the harvest and preservation of them as a people. But it was not until the reuniting of the union after the civil war that Thanksgiving became a national holy day celebrating the preservation and continuation of the American way of life. We often see this day as a religious holiday, as we should, the Anglican and puritan traditions of faith along with the government of England began using days of thanksgiving, mimicking the ancient feast of Israel, to remind us that God is involved in all things. People and nations all survive not by will alone, but by the word of God and His grace. I mention Thanksgiving today, because the history of this holiday has represented vastly different things throughout history. Though it gives credit to God, it largely celebrates the nation.
Church and State, or the sacred and secular, do not always work well together. One always seems to dominate the other, and through the power struggle the point is often lost. Thanksgiving and its predecessors have often celebrated one side or the other which ever is more dominate at that time. Today we see football and holiday shopping dominating so many thanksgiving celebrations where in the past it was dominated by religious dedication. There is a continuous struggle between the sacred and the secular but there is a thankfulness that we survive.
Today’s passage illustrates that struggle, as well as the call of those in Christ. It is not exactly the type of scripture we would like to read prior the entrance into the holiday season, but as I have meditated on it this week I have found that it is a blessing.
Jesus is taken to the place of the skull to be crucified. On top of the pain of this inhumane form of capital punishment Jesus also faces jeers on all sides. Luke mentions first that the religious leaders scoff at him. “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, His chosen one!” The mocking soldiers quickly followed saying, “If you are the king save yourself!”
This week these two statements have weighed heavy in my thoughts. Each of these statements comes from the same spirit, the spirit of control and power. Save yourself. One comes from the sacred arena the other from the secular, but both speak the same message if you are whom you claim save yourself.
Both sides of the issue have failed to see the truth of Jesus’ testimony; both have failed to hear the gospel in which he spoke. The Gospel of Jesus is that the Kingdom of God is here. But what is the kingdom of God? The religious leaders have an expectation that if Jesus were the Messiah then the temple would control the people. The secular believe that the kingdom is a political force with military backing so if Jesus in the king then he should call out his army to over power them and remove him from the tree. Then the criminals hung beside Jesus begin to join the conversation. One demands Jesus to prove his kingship by saving him and them. All three groups fail to understand what Jesus was meaning, because all are being lead by a human idea of kingdom.
The idea of kingdom in many of our minds is that of power, it is to have influence over other in order to control them. When Jesus is questioned about his kingdom, he said it is not of this world. We quickly interpret this to mean that Jesus’ kingdom is in heaven only, but that seems to negate the Gospel Jesus preached. He said that the Kingdom of God is here. Even the end of this passage seems to point in to a heavenly interpretation of the message. But could there be more to it? Is all that matters just getting a ticket punched and getting to heaven?
No, there is much more to the kingdom of God and much more to this passage. It begins with Jesus saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” They do not know what they are doing? Have you ever really thought about what that one statement meant? This came before the mocking leaders and soldiers, and before the discourse between the condemned in Luke’s telling. Is this just saying forgive them because they don’t know whom they are killing? I do not believe so, because it is clear through the writings of Paul that Jesus had to be put to death in that way to provide total redemption for mankind. It was actually not wrong to kill Jesus then but the most right thing to do, that act was not the one that needed forgiveness. But there is an action involved that did. They were killing Jesus because they wanted to control the people, and eliminate the competition to their power.
Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Forgive us for we do not know what we are doing. Sin we often explain as missing the mark, falling short, or breaking the law. Could it be that sin is actually the desire to control? Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the tree God told them not to eat from, they were tempted by the idea of gaining wisdom and being able to control their lives with the knowledge. They sinned and were separated from God because of the desire to have knowledge so they could then control, instead of relying on God to direct them through life. Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.
According to the law of both man and God, these people knew exactly what they were doing. The Romans wanted Jesus removed just as much as the Religious leaders, because of the claims of kingship. They knew that as Jesus taught they were losing the control over the common people. And they needed that control to maintain the status quo. These men knew what they were doing, but they did not know that they were in their legality were falling short.
Sin is control where forgiveness is restoration. We control with rules and regulations, we pile them on both on both sides of our humanity, both the secular and the sacred. But we do not often know what we are doing. We can study, we can plan, we can do all sorts of things but in the long run we do not know what the final results will be. We bind and loosen our human rules, and sacred interpretations and in the binding and loosening we fail and fall short, as individuals and as cultures. Forgive them, Jesus says, because they do not know what they are doing.
The leaders of the secular, the leaders of the sacred, and the common men all fell short we are all included we are all ignorant of what damage and or good we are doing to the community and world around us. Some of our greatest advancements have become some of our biggest sins as a culture. Some of our greatest failures have opened doors to our greatest accomplishments. All along we have been clueless to the lasting ramifications of our current actions. Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.
We try to control but we fail. We try to regulate others and ourselves and end up worse off then before, but there is forgiveness and hope. The one criminal realized that he was getting what was deserved and asked Jesus to remember him. We do not know what the crime was that these men committed, though he did say that he was condemned justly, but not Jesus. Jesus did not do things to control people but to free them.
I said that this passage illustrated the struggle between the sacred and secular, and also the call for those in Christ. That is the struggle between control and freedom. We often think of the golden age of Israel as being the time under the kings, but God warned them about the dangers of kings. It is almost as if God preferred that the lifestyle under the ancient judges even though so often look upon as negative from our point of view. Under the judges people followed the desires of their hearts, and at times it got them into trouble. But when Israel demanded a king God said that they rejected Him as their king. God’s kingdom is found where we strive to live out our heart’s desires in relationship to Him and our community. That is the freedom of Christ, which is the influence of Christ. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, we already did that and continue to condemn ourselves, but he came to set us free. That freedom is only found in recognizing our sin, turning from that sin, and striving to something better with Christ.
The last statement Jesus makes in this passage is directed to the repentant criminal. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” In all the pain of the situation I picture a smile on Jesus’ face, I can almost hear laughter in his voice through the pain. I hear it because there is joy. This one man realized that Jesus was speaking of him when He said forgive them. This man realized that he did not know what he was doing but now he did, and he accepted the consequences of his actions. And there is joy because there is reconciliation beginning. We do not have to control those around us, only to encourage. That is what the church is here for. We as a church exist to encourage one another to walk with Jesus and to live according to our callings.
Forgive them, Jesus pleads. Forgive them. For far too long we have lived in a world of condemnation and not one of forgiveness. That is what thanksgiving is truly about. God preserved us even though we do not know what we do. This is a time where we can step back and just be thankful that we have another day to try again. God allowed us to make a profit this year even though we made countless mistakes, God gave us a harvest even though we failed so many times, and we are thankful. We come together as friends and family and we share the bounty that God has graciously allowed us to have even though we do not deserve it, and we are thankful. But it is only enjoyable if we forgive those around us, to let go of our vain attempts to control and to be free to love. Forgive Jesus says. And encourage people to look toward him, and today you can experience just a glimpse of paradise.
Scripture: Luke 21:5-19
Have you ever wondered how people set their priorities? Nearly every day at my other job I see people making…well poor decisions. Many times these people will try to get away from the consequences of their poor decisions by making the claim that they have kids and should not have to face the discipline required. The sad thing is that in probably 99% of the cases the people involved were not making decisions based on taking care of their children but were satisfying their own desires. How do they set their priorities?
When I worked for the Salvation Army in Arkansas City, I would watch people come in for assistance with brand new cars still bearing a temporary tag saying that they did not have the money for rent. The one that really caught my eye was when a new Mustang pulled in, with two kids in car seats in the back. Then there were the countless cars that would make their way to Oklahoma on payday to visit the casino only show up needing help with bills on Wednesday.
Yes I am being a bit judgmental but these are the choices that I have observed as I have worked, choices that are based on priorities that I just do not quite understand. Then there is my own life. I have often found myself eating lunch at work, which is a good thing because one must eat to survive, but there are days where my choice for lunch is ice cream. Yes I hate to admit it, because such a well educated son of a nurse should probably be eating a well balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables but at times ice cream just feels right. That is just another example of a misplaced priority. We could probably spend a good hour giving examples of questionable priorities and make our own judgment on them, but that would be a meaningless and unbeneficial task. I mention it only because in each case I can find a fallacy in their priority, but I am not able to look into their minds to see their decision making process. In most cases I am fully unable to make any judgment because of that, the only case I can make a judgment is in the case of work when poor decisions of individuals have the potential of costing the company money.
Priorities are a way to examine our personal lives. Friends have a long history of asking pointed questions to assist us in determining Godly priorities. That is the point of the Queries in the various Faith and Practices of the Yearly Meetings across the country. These are a set of questions that we ask ourselves that are based on observations and scripture. They are not a set of rules to live by, but instead they are aspects of our lives that have been shown experientially to promote spiritual growth and a more satisfying life. By making it a discipline to occasionally asking and answering these questions in a contemplative state of mind and are honest with ourselves and with God, we can often find what areas in our spiritual life we may need to focus more of our attention.
Priorities are not only found in our personal individual lives, but extend beyond ourselves and infiltrate our communities as well. These corporate priorities can greatly effect how individuals relate and interact with each other. What are the things a community or a company value? The answer to this question, if we are again honest, will often determine how the individuals involved relate to each other. Core values, goals, and priorities are areas we may not often consider as being so important in our lives but if one is misplaced or too out of balance to the others, future choices and decisions will be greatly affected.
The people of God find themselves in one of those corporate priority-balancing acts. They do not even realize that they are struggling with maintaining a good healthy balance in their priorities but as history shows there was something tipping the scales. The people were gathered around Jesus in Jerusalem, in or near the temple. Jesus just finished teaching those around him about giving offerings to God, and they listened. Then they begin to look around and make comments to Jesus about how wonderful the temple was, how beautiful the stones were and the abundance of gifts dedicated to God. It was a beautiful temple. This temple dedicated to the God of Israel was considered the greatest monument in the Roman Empire.
We cannot fully grasp the splendor of the Temple because there is nothing quite like it in our contemporary world. It covered an area about the size of six football fields, the stones used in construction were perfectly smooth, cut, and placed. Stones weighing from two to 100 tons placed perfectly on top of each other to at least one hundred feet above the foundation. The stones themselves are so amazing that legends have emerged saying that angels of God helped place them. Perfect stones, we know that they had to be perfect because to this day you can visit the places where they quarried the stones and see the ones rejected. They have recently found tombs of temple priests buried around a large pane of glass that archeologists have concluded was a piece of glass that was originally made for the temple but was rejected because it had a flaw, this is the largest slab of glass ever found. It had its own water supply, with a system of aqueducts and pipes that stretched for over fifty miles, and the main entryway had a width equivalent to a four-lane highway. Within was the central bank of Jerusalem, with its own currency that would change money for the millions of people entering the facility three times a year. If you can think of the greatest most amazing building you can think of it would pale to the temple of God.
They were proud of their temple, it was the crown of civilization, attracting people from all corners of the world just to look. But Jesus said to them, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” I want you to imagine the greatest building you can, the monument that represents and is the greatest source of pride for our culture. Imagine it in its entire splendor, which is basically a shack, compared to the temple, but still amazing. I recently watched a movie about an invasion of the United States by a terrorist group from North Korea, in that movie they infiltrated and basically destroyed the White House, and even though it was a movie my stomach was in knots and my heart raced. This movie depicted the falling of our nation through the destruction of just a few monuments in one city. That is basically what Jesus is telling them but multiplying one hundred full. The very identity and pride of their culture would fall. How would you react?
Instantly the people hearing this entered panic mode, and rightfully so, the temple was not just a small structure that could be easily toppled. There are not many fortresses build more solid than the temple. For the temple to fall it would mean that the entire nation would basically be eradicated. Fear gripped the people; Jesus was saying that the end was near. They ask when it will be? And He tells them not to be led astray.
The fact that fear entered into their hearts is a sign that these greatly religious people had their priorities out of balance. They based everything on the temple. Their hope, their security, their future all found their foundation in that great monument. To even think of life without that symbolic building shook them to the core. Their faith was found in the temple and not in the God that was worshiped inside. Their priority was to maintain the temple, because without that they would be lost.
Misplaced priorities. The Titus, who was the son of Emperor Vespasian, destroyed the great temple of God in 70 AD. The destruction was complete, the great treasury that minted the temple currency was emptied, and all the wealth of the Jewish people was carried to Rome. This great wealth was used to fund the great building projects of Rome; the most notable was the Colosseum. The wealth of Israel left the people. The gifts dedicated to God instead went to honor the perverse lusts of Rome.
Misplaced priorities. This was not the first time this sort of thing happened, it was not even the second time, but the third time this sort of thing happened. Three times rulers from a foreign land entered the Temple of God and desecrated it, and twice it was destroyed. Three times the gifts dedicated to God were taken from the people and given to others. Three times. The prophets of old gave them warnings, warnings that were not listened to. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Hosea, and Micah all spoke of justice and mercy as being more important to God than sacrifice. Each of these prophets spoke prior to the first temple falling. Daniel warned them of the second instance of desecration, and Jesus speaks of the third. Justice, mercy and love are what God desires.
This is a passage of judgment to all mankind not just the people of first century Israel. Where are we placing our priorities? Jesus did not condemn the fact that the temple was so beautiful but that the temple was so adorned at the expense of mercy. Jesus came to live among mankind to bring them back to God. He came to show us a new way of life. A life devoted to worship, prayer, and service to others. He made it his custom to worship at the place of meeting where ever that place was, he did not care if it was the greatest and best, but instead that it was real. He withdrew often to the isolated and desolate places to pray alone, to personally spend time with His father, taking only His closest companions to share in this time. And he dedicated his life to ministering to the needs of those around him.
This lifestyle of worship, prayer, and service keeps our priorities in balance. The temple fell because the people focused too much of their efforts on one area, they focused all their time and treasure on worship and neglected service. They neglected service because they failed to truly engage in the conversational prayer, where they would be lead by God to do His will. They failed to show mercy in their great efforts to honor God in worship. They failed to live the love of God with others and God took all they had and gave it to the ones that outwardly displayed what was corrupting the souls of the people claiming to serve Him.
I have spoken often of this lifestyle, the lifestyle I believe that Jesus is calling us each into. I speak about it because it is so important. Jesus said later in this passage that the people would face persecution from those around them, even those closest to them, but he says that it will give them an opportunity. It will give them an opportunity to live the lifestyle Jesus is calling them. It will give them an opportunity to testify and to speak, that He will give them the wisdom and the words to speak when that day comes. We will see those opportunities only if we keep our priorities in balance. We will be able to engage in those conversations only when our spiritual lives are in balance. If we neglect one aspect of this lifestyle no matter how strong we think we are we will fall and all we have will be given to others. We find our strength in worship, we find our purpose and calling in prayer, and speak it in service.
This is a hard passage to speak on, because it speaks of the failure of mankind. But there is hope. The temple fell to Babylon but it was rebuilt. Antiochus desecrated the temple but Judas Maccabee restored it. The Romans tore down the great temple of Herod and crucified Christ, but Jesus rose from the grave and sent the Spirit of God to make his new dwelling place in the hearts of mankind. We may and often fail but we have a God of Grace, he lifts us back up and gives us yet another chance. He is calling us each to take the chance, to join Him in what He wants to do in our community, He wants us to join Him in making all things new, and to bring the kingdom of God to those around us. We do this by Loving God, Embracing the Holy Spirit, and Living the love of Christ with others. Through worship, prayer, and service.
As we enter into this time of open worship, let us consider in who, what, or where we are placing our priorities and consider if maybe we have misplaced them. And let us consider what Jesus is calling us to in our future as members of and as Willow Creek Friends.
Scripture: Luke 20:27-38
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who tried to present themselves, as an expert in an area, but in reality know nothing about the topic? It is even worse when you happen to have an extensive knowledge in an area in which they speak but they seem to be unable to acknowledge their error. I have been in many of these conversations sometimes they can be very funny but in many cases they can quickly devolve into an argument because often people do not like to be corrected of their ignorance. Yes I use the term ignorance because that is what most of these discussions are, they are without proper knowledge and because of that they are presenting things improperly. And I willing admit that at times I am the ignorant person in some conversations.
I remember several conversations that I have had with people as I worked as an overnight sales floor associate, many of these conversations moved into the areas of what the Christian view is on many areas. In most of the cases the ignorance was a willful ignorance, meaning they had no desire to gain proper knowledge but would continue to spread their faulty ideas. This was most prevalent when the discussion was over the Christian response to Islam. I was often worried about the direction these discussions would take because I knew that most people involved were working with limited knowledge over the subject matter, on both sides. For example many of my Islamic friends were debating with the assumption that all Christians believed in three gods, those gods being the Father, Jesus the Son, and Mary. Many of the Christians were debating thinking that all Islamic groups were the same as well not realizing that there are two major groups. It got to the point that I actually asked one of my Islamic friends to read a book from which I gained what knowledge I had over their faith and asked them to let me know where the presentation was inaccurate. They actually jumped at the opportunity, which opened them up to asking questions as well about their ignorance of Christianity.
I would try to stay out of many of these discussions because a fool seems wise until they open their mouths, and I did not want to look the fool. Each side would gear up to debate, and to argue their points but neither would really listen to the other party. I had one friend that took me aside once and demanded that I prove my faith to him, saying, “If you prove that your faith is true I will convert.” What a great door opening up to me, I wanted to speak, but instead I said to him, “I will answer any questions you have about my faith and how my faith has changed my life, but I will not debate. Because there is nothing that I can say that could say in an argument that would convince you fully.” I left the conversation feeling that maybe I missed a great opportunity to encourage this man’s life, but I also felt that it was the correct answer to the situation. He did ask several questions over the course of our time working together, but I did not push. Eventually he told me that he was going to transfer but he enjoyed our discussions, he admitted to me that he did question many teaching of both religions and asked me if I had ever struggled. I was totally honest with him, telling him that yes I question my faith every day, I study and pray daily wanting to continually prove to myself that I am not just grasping wind. That is part of Christianity we can doubt, question, and seek answers. I told him that Jesus even encourages us to do these things. Which allowed me to tell him that in all my searching I always come back to the same thing I always come back to Jesus. This then opened a door for me to provide him some of the resources I used to come to my conclusions, he accepted the books that I offered and we went on our way.
Often times we want to prove that we are right. We will push forward in a debate with the goal to prove our points and actually miss the questions being asked. We in our attempts to win people for Christ can miss the point. That is what religion often does. Religion is a human attempt to explain or reach the divine. It is a human attempt. This means that in the attempt our explanation will by default be tinted by human experience and perspective. That perspective can be incorrect at any given point. I am not saying that it is wrong out right, but it may not tell the entire truth. Theology is a fascinating field of study because there are several different perspectives to explore, each opening a new window of light from which we can view the human interaction with God. The danger in theology and what has gotten all denominations in trouble is when they decide that their perspective of theology is correct and without error. I say that it is dangerous because that view assumes that we then have total knowledge of God and there is no longer any room to question.
This is where division enters communities. Last week many followers of Jesus in many traditions celebrated Reformation Day. It is a very important day because it prompted many people to again question what they say they believe, to seek answers and to find God. But along with that day it also started a battle between religious power structures that both claimed to have total truth, yet their views differed. It is a day that marks the division of Catholic and Protestant. It is a day of celebration and in the same breath a day of sorrow. There is not unity in the Church, there is not room for different ideas or perspectives, and in many ways we celebrate ignorance. In all of our arguments could we actually miss the point?
That is where we find Jesus in today’s passage. There is a group of people coming to him asking a theological question. In the New Testament we see the interaction between two schools of thought among the Jewish people the Pharisee viewpoint and that of the Sadducee. In many ways they believe the same things, the essentials are all there, the difference comes in the areas that are unclear in scripture. In this particular case it deals with marriage.
The question comes as to whom is the woman married to in the resurrection? That is the question presented but is that the real question asked? As I read this passage I sense a couple of extra questions; what is marriage, and what is resurrection are two that come to mind. The Sadducee, it states, does not believe in the resurrection from the dead, yet they ask this question, because there is an aspect of the extension of life that is unclear in scripture. Just by observation and in my own personal ignorance of ancient Jewish traditions I would say that the Sadducee understanding of resurrection would be in the physical linage or becoming parents. There was a reason that Moses wrote the law and if there are no children the question is was the life of these seven brothers in vain?
There is also a question of marriage. The law states that if a woman’s husband dies without a child the brother of the man must take the woman as his wife and bear children in the brother’s name. Is the point of marriage only in the bearing of children?
These are questions that the scholars and theologians of ancient times struggled with. Each group was certain that they had the correct answer to the presented question, but did they miss the entire point of question. Jesus begins to answer the question by saying, “those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Those worthy of that age do not marry, why? “Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”
This speaks volumes about marriage, life, death, and resurrection. What is marriage? In the beginning God said that it was not good for man to be alone, so God created woman. The beginning point of marriage is that it is not good for mankind to be alone. That life is to be lived in relationship. Marriage first and foremost is friendship. The story goes on to say that Adam and Eve, our first parents, walked through the garden naked and unashamed. This also says that in relationship there is vulnerability, intimacy, and trust. No hiding, no secrets, just naked and unashamed. That kind of intimacy is difficult to obtain which is where God comes in.
We as humans are bound by fear. We live in the constant fear of being known. The fear is that if people were to know us deeply that we would be found lacking in some way. So we prop ourselves us sewing together ideas that become masks and walls. These masks and walls became the perspectives from which we relate to everyone around us. You fear and out of your fear, you judge me and everyone else around you in certain ways. We are either allies that can prop us our image or enemies to be marginalized. In our fear we live alone, we live contrary to the will of God, and are dead.
God is not the God of the dead but the living. You can only have relationships with the living. This brings to light the questions of life, death, and resurrection. The Lord is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, Moses heard these statements centuries after these men died yet God was speaking about them not in the past tense but the present. When we are in relationship with God true life continues beyond our understanding of time. It is life then, now, and evermore. This cannot be explained adequately from a human perspective. For some it speaks of heritage as we have children or influence the lives of others our life continues with them. Others see it in a mystical spiritual perspective that is supernatural. People argue over the meaning but both could be equally correct or incorrect.
What does Jesus mean in his answer? Marriage is focused not on the legal aspects of matrimony but on the relational aspects of life together, joining together and proceeding through time not alone but as one unit. Life is not defined by the time between birth and burial but extends beyond the realm of time and space. So what do we know for sure? We do not know anything fully. At best we are ignorant because it is impossible to have full knowledge in the areas beyond our human senses. No matter what our best science and observations seem lacking. Even our greatest theologies can seem to have holes that we cannot fully explain. The point is that it is ok not to have all the answers, as long as we are willing to ask questions. It is ok to lack understanding as long as we do not build a wall around our ignorance. The main things is that Life is more important that being right. Life must be lived, honored, and protected. Does it matter whom the woman is married to? No it is that she was not alone. Our Lord is for the living and the living can only be seen and understood in our current human perspective. They are the people walking all around us. To participate in God’s life with others that should be our focus. It is not good for man to be alone. That is why God Himself came to live among mankind, to take on all the fear, shame, and death that separates us from true relationships, and to lift us up to His glory. Never more to be alone, but Emmanuel, God With Us.
In all of our debates and arguments let us not forget that one perspective. Does our stance protect and honor life? Does our theology leave room for the marginalized? Are we leaving people alone and without hope or are we sharing with them life with a living God?