Dark Brightness

Bleak Theology: Hopeful Science

Lawful goodness is not necessarily neat.

One of the things which occurs within the practice of law — looking from the outside as a non lawyer — is an awareness of legal process. There are rules around evidence, how it is to be presented, how people are to interact.

And these rules are useful. In court.

But they are artificial in real life.

Luke 13:10-17

10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

This is one of those issues that is moot in my Society. It is Sunday, my kirk is in recess for the holidays, and after sleeping in (my body clock is somewhere around Vancouver at the moment) and going for a walk we did the shopping. Commerce does not stop for Sunday in my country. Perhaps it should: we have probably gone too far and everyone having one day or even one and a half days of rest is sensible. There are plenty of places where the shops shut on Saturday evening and do not open til Monday.

But I have spent too many years on call as a medic. I tend to lose track of what day it is — because I have to go in.  This has consequences — about two or three times a year I need to. spend. a. week. by. myself. before. I. start. biting. people’s. heads off.  The law here is wiser than my society.

But being too rigid and neat, sticking too close to a legal process, is also wrong. Jesus healed on the Sabbath. People eat on the sabbath. There is a balance point here, and it is one that each group of believers needs to consider prayerfully. We need to honour this (which I am very bad at) yet we need to also do good.  And not be the legalist who banns people doing good in the name of some legalistic process.

One thought on "Lawful goodness is not necessarily neat."

  • Mike Milligan says:

    Your kirk takes a recess on holiday weekends? That seems so odd to me, but then I live in the US where church is still somewhat common. (I think our church has closed only for extreme weather events.) However, we also have a society that doesn’t have a day without commerce. It’s convenient, but I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if we all slowed down for one day.

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