Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
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The Law as it what given to the Israelites - the 10 Commandments - were both particular and a mosaic that revealed an overriding way of life: Love God, Love God's people. As the Israelites settled into this way of life they got deeper into the weeds of the particular. If they faced another situation to which the law codes did not directly address, they wrote sub-laws. When they got stuck, they looked to their learned ones and they just wrote more sub-laws. What that process did was create more weeds and move the people away from the overriding purpose of the Law. It also removed them from believing that they had the knowledge they needed to make good choices when faced with a dilemma. Sometimes, in the absence of a manual for our current times, we have to depend on the overriding purpose and the One who gave it to us. Sometimes we just have to face the dilemma of the day and ask ourselves what does Love require? The answer might not be simple. It may be laced with risk. It may even be wrong, but it is closer to God's heart than licking our thumbs and paging through a manual when someone needs our help.
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Forgive us, O Lord, for allowing thousands in Puerto Rico to die without doing what love required. Amen.