In today’s reading, Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” Jesus is not going to take away the law and the prophets, but he is going to give new meaning and interpretation to the them. The Scribes and Pharisees have the people caught up in such a very legalistic way of living. All actions and all relationships were directed by some law. So that, eventually, everything is seen through the legal lens. Jesus comes to take those lenses away and put on lens that see people and relationships. And, he comes not to just show how to live them, but to live them more fully!
What can happen with law, I think, is we can take a minimalist approach. I only have to do this to satisfy this rule or law. I only have to do 6 hours of training for this certification. I only have to go to 3 pre-cana classes for marriage. I only have to give them 15 minutes of my time. I only have to work 8 hours at this job. I only have to say I’m sorry. I only have to get through teaching this subject today. I only have to get $50 to reach my goal. I only have to lose 10 more pounds. I cannot eat meat only on the Fridays of Lent. I only have to do the minimum that is required of me.
Is that really who we are called to be? Just meet the minimum requirements? Or do we want to follow the example of fulfilling the law? I will do the 6 hours of training and will continue my educational development so I can be even better! I will do the pre-cana and continue to commit myself to making our relationship better each day! I will raise more than $50 to exceed my goal and really help this organization! I will lose 10 pounds and maybe more so that I have more energy for activities with my family and friends! I will not eat meat on Fridays of Lent and on any day that I would like to make a sacrifice for God or someone who may need it!
To go beyond minimalism into creativity, imagination, and greater fulfillment! To show how we can truly live the law!
I close with a Fasting and Feasting poem by William Arthur Ward. The law requires us to fast. What might we consider feasting on instead?
Lent can be more than a time of fasting. It can also be a joyous season of feasting. Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season to:
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ living in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on appreciation.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety and discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicions; feast on truth.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from thoughts of weakness; feast on promises that inspire.