From the Gospel of Luke:

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Luke 9:35 (NRSV) – October 17, 2014)

You couldn’t get clearer instructions, could you? “Listen to him!” So why don’t people?

I don’t mean people in general, I mean people who call themselves Christian. They pay attention to Leviticus and Deuteronomy. They pay attention to Paul. Why don’t they pay attention to Jesus?

Get their knickers all in a twist, for example, about gay and lesbian people and their relationships when Jesus had nothing at all to say about that — they pay attention to a couple of verses in Leviticus, a couple of verses in the letters of Paul, but do they listen when Jesus says to the woman guilty of adultery, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (Jn 8:11) That’s just about the only thing he had to say about anyone’s sexual relationships, “I don’t condemn you.” Why don’t they listen to him and do likewise?

Seems to me that Jesus boiled everything down to something just about as simple as the Father’s admonition. When asked which of the commandments was the greatest, he said: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mk 12:29-31) My diocese has summarized this on a bumper sticker:

Love God Bumper Sticker

You can’t get clearer instructions, can you? Listen to him!


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Father Funston is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio.