This is something that has been percolating in my mind for a while now and I am just beginning to be able to formulate it into sentences. This is not a final thought by any means, rather this is a getting it out to be seen and tested. Please throw darts at it. Poke holes in it. Help me see what I am blind to see.
It seems to me that many good and faithful Christians spend a great amont of time trying to find a good set of ethics, a set of rules by which to live their lives.
Once upon a time the rules were pretty simple, "Don't drink. Don't smoke. (Don't dance.) And don't go with girls who do." If you did or did not do these things as the case may be, you were in pretty good standing with the Big Guy.
Wesley gave the people called Methodists three rules. 1. Do no harm. 2. Do good. 3. Tend to the ordiances of God. In other words, avoid evil and sin, love your neighbor in every form possible, and maintain the spiritual disciples of prayer, the reading of scripture, and community worship. He said that living out these rules was evidence of a persons desire to recieve salvation that comes in grace through Christ.
Moses gave us the BIG TEN (no this is not a NCAA football conference). This is the Law literally written in stone and given to the people Israel. You know it says stuff like, have no other gods before the LORD God, keep the sabbath, honor your parents, do not want for your neighbors things.
Jesus narrowed it down to two. Love the LORD your God and love your neighbor.
Mother Teresa gave the sisters two keys, which having learned directly from a sister who worked with the Blessed Mother and not finding them elsewhere I feel I should not share in a blog but am more than willing to share with anyone in the personally sharing of faith.
The Gospel according to Matthew in the the Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5-7 for those of you who want to read along at home) gives us a synopsis of Jesus' ethic and teaching. Instructions on being salt and light. Teachings on those who are called blessed. Reminders to turn the other cheek. Commands to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
The prophet Micah tells us do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.
Then you can pull rules, ethics, and guidelines on life from any of the epistles, from the teachings of Luther, the instructions of St. Francis, the works of St. Augustine of Hippo, the rules of St. Benedict.
And still, good and faithful Christians spend hours trying to find an ethic, a rule, a way to live their life. Do we really believe we need a new teaching on these things? Or are we searching for an ethic that is less intrussive? Here is my proposal in short form. Follow any ONE of these ethics in the name of Christ and you will find yourself working as a servant in the kingdom of God. Live out any of these simple instructions and you will be light and salt. Stop searching for the right answer and say to Christ, "Today. Today, I am yours. And I will do my best to faithful walk in your ways." Then follow to the best of your ability one of these rules of grace and submission.
If even half of us who call ourselves by the name of Christ would find our simple rule and live under the rule the One who is light and life the power of the gospel and good news of Christ would quickly cover the face of the earth.