I confessed on Sunday to being brought up to be a rule-follower. Growing up has meant developing a very healthy aptitude for rule-breaking! I’ve wondered whether following rules supports or hinders our ability to love. Jesus is a professional rule-breaker – he touches lepers, eats with prostitutes and tax collectors, heals people on the Sabbath and talks to outcasts like Samaritans and women. Notice that when he is extending the greatest measure of God’s grace, he is usually breaking a rule – cultural, social, or religious.
As he goes about his work, his ministry of saving life, of helping people to be new, he keeps doing that rule-breaking thing. He does this because he is aware and awake to the movement of the Holy Spirit, calling forth the best that we are to end oppression in all sorts of contexts. He’s alert to it, and ready to act. Spontaneous. That is what we need to be. Consider what it means to break rules, or expectations, in the name of compassion, love and justice. Ethics and compassion do not always align with rules, and breaking rules can have consequences. But often we must break rules and expectations the way Jesus did in order to communicate the message that every single person is the spark and image of the Holy.
Peace and grace,