Sometimes rules or laws are odd, aren’t they?
Here are some laws that are especially odd but true…
ARIZONA: No one can feed garbage to pigs without first obtaining a permit. You can swap out the trough for a wastebasket if the swine are raised for your own consumption.
COLORADO: You have to get a permit to modify the weather. (In some states, it’s legal to perform activities that create changes in the composition or behavior of the atmosphere.)
IDAHO: Cannibalism is strictly prohibited and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, except under “life-threatening conditions as the only apparent means of survival.”
It’s hard to imagine why these laws were originally created, but no doubt there was (hopefully) some purpose and need for their invention.
I remember that in the house I grew up in one could cause great frustration if they (usually me!) left the bathroom vent closed!
It was odd, but it made sense as I got older as to why it was important.
Rules generally have a place and value, don’t they?
In the Bible, in the book of Leviticus, we find rule after rule and regulation after regulation. It makes for interesting reading, but not always reading that is stimulating to a tired soul. When I counseled summer camp I would read from Leviticus in a low monotone voice to get the youth to fall asleep!
But in reading it, we find out just how much God cares about us, our health, and daily living but also how concerned He is about sin. As I read about the costly offerings (higher for leaders and priests than for the average person by the way) I was convicted by just how seriously the issue of sin is (even sin done in ignorance!).
Sin is, to put it one way, sidestepping God’s beautiful and holy plans for life. Sin hijacks what God created to be good, and takes the sinner to a promised shortcut of fulfillment.
Many examples abound, but let’s not get sidetracked.
God cares deeply about life, your life included.
God cares deeply about all of creation.
God created all of this with a specific and joyful purpose in mind.
Sin disregards all of that.
We live in a world that is absolutely devastated by sin in so many unthinkable ways. The devastation brings pain, isolation, and tells people they do not matter.
As Christians, we are ones who have said a resounding “YES!” to God’s offer of forgiveness to any and all through the severely costly sacrifice of our Lord Jesus!
As Christians, we are the ones who hold the greatest hope in the coming restoration of the heavens and the earth (read Revelation 21-22)!
And importantly, as Christians, we are given the grace and power to extend God’s care for life and creation.
We are not to be surprised when sinners sin.
We are not to be surprised when the world feels broken.
We are to feel called to action, for it is the purpose of Christians to live in such a restored way that people are compelled to ask why we do. That way we have the opportunity to “give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”
Rather than making thousands of regulations and rules to do this by, Jesus called us to a profound outpouring of love that is being poured into us by the Holy Spirit. We are to love (obey) God with all we are and to love others as ourselves.
What does that need to look like in your home currently? Your work? Your community?
May we be inspired to do so and may we be repentant of times when we fail to.
The prayer of St Francis of Assisi is a good way to conclude…
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,1 Peter 3:15 NIV