UMC pastor, Donald Sensing, over at the One Hand Clapping blog, has posted his sermon manuscript on the failure of moral levees. It’s an excellent sermon in the wake of the Katrina disaster, regarding the fallen nature of man, and the need for the rule of God’s law in our hearts through love.
His best graphs, like finely polished jewels, come at the end:
One of the things that churches should do is train the moral sense of it members. The God who created us also demands a high level of morality in us. The Ten Commandments do not say that a little murder is okay, a little adultery is permissible, a little thievery is allowable. Instead they instruct: No murder. No adultery. No stealing. There’s no wriggle room.
Our continuing challenge as Christians is to follow the moral commandments of God’s law without becoming legalists imprisoned by moralism rather than freed by morality. Rules are brittle; alone they make poor levees. When stressed from exceptional circumstances, rule-bound people are often the first to find their base eroded and their moral will overflowed. Rules alone oppress rather than liberate, stunt the spirit rather than grow it. Rules are imposed from the outside. Under stress, their restraints too easily break.
Love, though, comes from within. The silken covenants of love are not as easily broken as the iron chains of law. But love without rules leads to licentiousness. We can justify anything by claiming “our hearts are in the right place.” Rules bring the reign of reason into the impulses of the heart. Rules can serve as a lens to focus the impulses of love and bring needed discipline to love’s fleeting nature. Love provides desire, but rules provide a will.
Only one moral levee can withstand the category five challenges we may encounter and hold back the churning seas of chaos from flowing over us. We need a solid bed of the rules of God topped by a strong wall of love.
Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for the link.
[tags]BlogRodent, katrina, hurricane-katrina, moral-levees, blame-game, sermon, donald-sensing, one-hand-clapping[/tags]