In the Office: Loving the Law

When was the last time you found yourself thinking about, delighting in, and loving the Law of the Lord?

For my part, I’ve been thinking about God’s Law a little more than usual in the past few days. My sermon for Sunday will focus on God’s promise of guidance; and make no mistake, one of the ways God guides us is to give us His Law – commandments, ordinances and rules – that establish a sense of what’s right and wrong and that hold out the promise of wisdom (if we’re willing to pay attention).

Of course, that’s not always a message we want to hear. The constraints of God’s Law are great…until they constrain us! And even when they don’t, we often struggle with the all-too-human temptation to boast about our “law-abiding prowess,” while critiquing others  who break the rules that we don’t struggle with.

But the fact that obeying God’s Law can be complicated should not be allowed to blind us to the gracious gift that it represents. One of the readings from today’s Daily Office in the Book of Common Prayer puts it like this:

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

(Psalm 19:7-8; 10-11)

Of course, the even greater gift is that there is One (and only one) who has fulfilled the Law. And as a result, the surest route to “loving the Law” is loving and trusting and following Him. As the Apostle Paul puts it in another one of today’s Daily Office readings:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ…I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ…I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

(Philippians 3:7-11; selected verses)

So let’s “love the Law” today. Let’s find it to be perfect, trustworthy, right and precious. But even more, let’s love the One who fulfilled the Law and to whom it points. Let’s desire His power, His resurrection life – and yes, even His suffering – so that in some small way we can become like Him.

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