Letters to Jesus (Recognizing What's Important)-15
A life of ethical imperatives is a Pharisaical life. When we consider our journey to union with You as if it was defined by adherence to a set of rules, our conformity itself becomes the idol and, like the Pharisees, we miss the forest for the trees. In looking upon this frequently perceived panorama of life’s directions a particular frustration pops up: so many of us, so often just cannot make the transition from following rules to connecting with You in our hearts.
The church starts us out with rules. You Yourself were not averse to taking the childlike mentalities of Your disciples and starting them off with rules or guidelines. But inherent in this approach is the dependence that growth in the relationship will bring us to the next step, and the next step, and so on to the point where the ethical imperatives have served their purpose and fade away.
How often You debated the lack of spirit in the Pharisees literal interpretation of the law. What You brought to the world was not more rules but a way of the heart. In our times we have doctors of theology, canon lawyers, and biblical interpreters and commentators all of whom have something to offer us from different perspectives. But a loving relationship with God is far less complex than the historical and current intricacies of those disciplines. It is, I think, an unwitting choice of many of those who shepherd us to fall victim to promulgating a spirituality based upon ethical imperatives that are given precedence over the kind of love and compassion You meant for us to absorb from You.
Still, there may be something to be saidabout the childlike disposition attached to a sense of obedience to Your will. If we must become like children to embrace the kingdom of God then maybe blind, dependent, trusting adherence to what we are told to do contains the necessary simplicity that the pursuit of complex mysticism and spiritual attitudes does not. The difference between the Pharisees and those they influenced may have been the difference between complex, self-serving teachers and the simple, obedient children that attended to them.