The Ten Commandments was said at the 8am Service today. Rules and especially these rules are important for us to flourish.
I grew up playing football in the park pretty much all summer. We would put jumpers down as goal posts, select captain and teams and kick off.
Games would last until either until the score became ridiculous one-sided or we had to go home to tea (generally late! – sorry mum) or more often when someone ignored the vague rules we played to – football without any rules isn’t much fun; goalkeepers picked up the ball miles from their goals, they changed the size of their goals depending how they felt, the pitch would stretch across the whole of the park as their lines to follow and handball and fouling could be the norm.
How much better it was when we played for our clubs when we followed the rules – marked out pitches, standardised goals and a referee. This allowed the game to flow, skills to develop and a better experience; and so it is with life – we live in a culture that demands freedom and fights against any rules. However, a society without any rules doesn’t allow us to flourish or protect each other.
Obviously the other extreme is following the rules so tightly that they become oppressive – a whistle happy referee (with no idea of the advantage rule) kills any chance of an exciting and free-flowing game. Jesus showed that a faith based only on following the letter of the law, like the Pharisees, was not the way to live a life abundantly.
He did not abolish the law but challenged us to see it through the lens of loving God and each other. That is still our challenge today not to ignore the rules but also not to become Christians that create a faith suffocated by rules. To play the game, knowing like Jesus – the advantage rule!