Between the Lines: Easter 6, May 29, 2011

Text: John 14:15-21

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Paul Knittner in Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian (Oxford: One World, 2009:81) writes: “What we are called to be faithful to is not the words themselves, but the way those words are supposed to form or reform our lives. Christians believe certain things in order to act in a certain way. The purpose of doctrine is not primarily to fill our heads but to shape our lives.” Consider what John’s Jesus does not say at this critical point. There is nothing about himself. No exhortation to worship him or anyone. Nothing about what those left behind are supposed to think or feel or believe. He leaves them with no creed or catechism. Rather than being told what he hopes will fill their heads, Jesus speaks of keeping his commandments. Which, of course, is all about loving. What do you know about ways in which being faithful to words can avoid, short circuit and even compete with love abiding? What is your personal scheme for loving Jesus? What evidence do you have that the holy words you say are in the process of forming or reforming your life?

– Bill Dols

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