When our oldest son Andrew was about three, he loved climbing things. Ladders, trellises, trees. They all beckoned him to clamber up toward the roof or the sky. In the house, we found Andrew mounting our coffee table and leaping off.
Not wanting him to mar the furniture or bump his head, we told him not to do that. Since this made no sense to him, he kept scaling the coffee table and leaping off, only to have us put him in time out for a count of ten. Eventually, he got the point. At least, he got a point.
|Gustav Klimt's "Apple Tree"|
When he thought I wasn’t looking, Andrew got on the table and jumped off.
Before I could say anything, and without having seen me, he said, “Time out!” He walked to the accustomed corner, counted to ten, returned to the table, and repeated the process a few more times.
That wasn’t quite what we had had in mind.
Sometimes I suspect that Jesus looks at his Church and, with patience and love, shakes his head and thinks, “That wasn’t quite what I had in mind.”
Jesus had said, “Those who love me will keep my word.” (John 14:23)
With all the best intentions, people have taken his words to heart. And gotten them completely wrong.
They assume that Jesus means, “If you love me you will follow the rules I’ve given you.” Sincerely trying to follow Jesus, some people believe that Jesus’ word—his logos—is a moral code. A set of do’s and don’ts.
But let’s do a quick review of Jesus’ teaching in John’s Gospel.