The Day’s Scripture
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Pedal and Glide
I remember teaching my son how to ride a bicycle. We took the training wheels off his bike and I ran alongside him with a hand on the seat and one on his handle-bars. Isaiah yelled, “don’t let go, Dad!” I shouted back, “you can do it, Isaiah, just pedal and glide! Pedal and glide.“
We were meant to glide. Everything about us–our hearts, souls, bodies–were created to love and worship God with all that we are, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The “law” is written on our hearts. Our religious “training wheels” exist to guide us, teach us, and shape us. But they become dangerous if they are the ends in themselves, that which we cling to for life.
God help me to trust in you and pedal and glide. May I find spiritual maturity in you by embodying your law etched in my heart. Help me to not use your church and your name to cause others to stumble, but to assist me in loving others freely as you have taught me. Amen.