Published on March 19th, 2020 | by Stephen Barrington0
Jesus fulfills the Law, Matthew 5:17-19. March 18, 2020 by Buckshot
Kia ora koutou, rangimarie ki a koutou katoa mo tenei wa. Greetings and good health, may peace be with you all at this time. This week’s gospel passage is Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus fulfills the law.
It was great last weekend to be away on the road with some friends, travelling to another long time mates wedding. The wedding was a good re-union of many people, as they usually are. At some points, the road was interrupted with repairs, lights and a couple of times we had some big bumps send awful shocks up our backs. Not as rough as those Kenyan roads a few months back tough…the road can throw up unexpected surprises, that keep us focused and attentive.
Like those bumps, COVID 19 has come along, and is making us take notice and think a bit more than we normally do. I am certainly washing my hands better than I usually do! How does this reality affect our Lenten journey, what does our text today offer us to negotiate the virus at our doorstep?
Jesus’ words today would have been a shock up everyone’s spines when he spoke them. Many thought he was a revolutionary preacher breaking away from the old ways of Israel – but no, he says those old laws will never be thrown out. I am showing you how to live them to the full! Back when Moses received the laws Israel was a nomadic agrarian society. They needed health, trading and relational ‘laws’ to moderate poor behaviour and help them to live well together, even to live in an egalitarian, community way – instead of each person for themselves. Over the years the community leaders had wandered a long way from living in this hopeful way. They had become more concerned about enforcing compliance and selling sacrificial animals to purify the sinful, than ensuring a just and equitable community.
Somehow Jesus was forging ahead with a new way, that was really an old way, without losing the reality that Israel’s traditions had always hoped for and pointed too. The hope of Israel was to serve the world; to show generous love to the poor, sick, orphaned, widowed and embrace the foreign alien. This was to be love for God and love for neighbour in the here and now.
Today we find ourselves on the doorstep of a pandemic, people have died around the world and now two are confirmed in Wellington with COVID 19. We cannot ignore this reality, and we must hold onto our faith. That faith of Jesus that fulfills those old laws we often struggle to come close to. This moment is a gift to us to enact our Lenten period of sacrifice and self-denial. It is an opportunity for us to slow down, to consider our neighbour and look for ways to love and serve. Each of us will have different situations and opportunities this week – may we see the opportunity to fulfill the law of love, the opportunity to serve our neighbour and bring hope to the world in our neighbourhood.
Fulfilling the law for Jesus was never about keeping the rules; it was about building that Kingdom where love, justice, mercy and peace flourish. As our normal life is disrupted, as our church and club gatherings are changed, our travelling curtailed may we have eyes to see the opportunity before us to love our neighbour and share that old hope of Israel.
Jesus today calls us to join him in this work of being salt to preserve the health of our world. He calls us to be light to help each other through this darkness and uncertainly. He calls us to have faith and live in love, despite the temptation to be greedy and hoard that toilet paper…..
May we be found this week walking in love, serving those beside us so that those old laws are continually fulfilled and blessing those we walk with.
Buckshot – Wellington chapter, New Zealand