Monday, October 18, 2010
Love Over Scripture: (Lens of Love pt 2)
I wrote last week about reading the Bible through a certain lens, the lens of Love, and that if your interpretation if the scriptures leads you to exclude, hate, or mistreat your neighbor then you have misinterpreted the text.
St. Augustine said,
“So it seems that you have understood the divine Scriptures, or any part of them, in such a way that by this understanding you do not build up this twin love of God and neighbor, then you have not yet understood them.”
I would even go so far to say that Love trumps scripture.
Now if you haven’t already turned your computer off let me give an example, one that I have touched on before.
In Luke 10 Jesus tells a parable of a man, who was traveling down a path from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was severely beaten and left for dead by bandits. Along the same road came a priest and then a Levite, both of which passed by the man in need. Soon after this a Samaritan comes and takes care of the man by bandaging him up and taking him to an inn where he pays enough money to take care of him.
As I have said before, the priest and the Levite often get a bad rep for their actions in this story, but who is to say that we wouldn’t (or that we do not) do the same exact thing.
The reason I say that is because the priest and Levite were actually the ones who followed the scriptures. Throughout the Torah there are numerous laws forbidding contact with a dead body or touching blood or any other secretion from some else’s body. So when the priest and the Levite come to the bloody body, which probably seemed dead, lying on the side of the road, they had a tough choice. They could either act out of love and help the man (and in doing so, would become unclean) or they could follow the scriptures, remain clean, and be able to partake in the sacred meal with their family when they returned home.
Of course they choose the scriptures as any good religious, clergy would do. And we know that once the story was finished Jesus asked the “expert in the scriptures” which man had done the right thing, and of course the answer was “the one (Samaritan) who had mercy on him (the bloody guy). You could say that the man who ignored the scriptures and acted out of love was the man who was justified in his actions.
So are the scriptures all we need? And is there ever a time when the idea of, “Well…what does the Bible say?” just doesn’t cut it? I’ll write more about this topic throughout the week. I am interested in reading your ideas.