Rules and regulations

I heard a nice little parable a few days ago that discussed how it can sometimes seem – to believers and nonbelievers alike – that the relationship between God and His people is only about rules; that it comes down to us having to follow His rules in order to be happy. In essence that is true, of course, but not because of some divine need to be obeyed.

It is rather like a man in a dark room who has to open the curtains to let in light. But he doesn’t want to get up out of his chair to do it. He wants the light, nothing more, but doesn’t believe he should have to do anything to get it. Our relationship with God is like that too. God is life, and our choice for life, in whatever form or shape or context, requires a decision to get out of our chair and pull open the curtains, so to speak. Not because God otherwise holds it back, but because it is a simple and logical requirement. Just like curtains don’t open by themselves.

Rules are therefore not simple rules for the sake of being rules. Rather, they are necessities to acquire what we want or need. If God desires lasting happiness for His people, and I’d like to think He does, He will provide us with the means to achieve that. In that sense He is indeed our Father: parents ideally raise their children in a framework of rules, not out of some need to be despots, but because they want the best for their children, who are yet unable to achieve happiness and fulfill their potential by themselves.

That is how we should consider the recent ruckus about Communion and who can receive it. In order to let the life of God enter us, we must be able to receive it. We must get up and make the changes in ourselves to remove the obstacles that can block that life. God’s love is not human love, it far exceeds it. The latter must therefore never block the former, since that would be detrimental to the people. And if there’s one thing God would not want, it is to keep His people back.

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