Most things are just not quite that simple

Have you ever noticed that most things in life are not as simple as we would like them to be? There is a world of difference between the task done by someone who knows what they are doing, and the person who has just discovered the DIY network. For example, at the DIY network it is suggested that changing a faucet is an easy job, requiring only modest plumbing skill, a thing so simple that anyone could do it. But those directions don’t take into account rusty, corroded fittings that must be removed to change the plumbing. Those directions miss the instructions about contorting the body like a snake to reach up under the bowl of the sink to release the old, outmoded plumbing. Those directions don’t say anything about needing an angle grinder to remove unyielding parts. And why is it that when it is all put back together, there is never any leak on the DIY site.  Well, you get the point.

Most things are not as simple as they seem. I have learned that lesson in life.  But anyone can go down to the store and buy the big pipe wrench and develop all sorts of frustration while one tries to achieve plumbing. But it is not just limited to plumbing. Anyone can go off and buy a Bible, and given a certain attitude and the ability to spout off opinion, one can dabble as an amateur theologian.  The problem is, that when one has failed at amateur plumbing, the result is fairly patulous, but when one has failed at amateur theology, the damage can remain hidden, obscured and festering for a lifetime.

Christianity is not so simple as people would make it seem to be. Far from being reduced to which commandments a person keeps or breaks, the real challenge of Christianity has to do with the ethical choices that we make in a confusing world. Primarily the ethics of Christianity is all about love. “Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice for God.” “Whoever does not love does not know God.” But what is love?  There will continue to be volumes of things done in the name of love that mask what is hateful, damaging of relationship, and outright abusive, for it was ever thus. There are those who confuse love with the whimsy of passing feelings that are here today and gone tomorrow; there are equally those who forget that love requires a proactive response: “Those who say ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.  The commandments we have is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” ( see 1 Jn 4.7f)

Well, even if it would seem a challenge for the most of us, what would it hurt to try to be  actually loving occasionally? Or, is that also a casualty of the times in which we live?


Canon Greg+


About canongreg

I have been Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Wellsboro, PA since 1994.
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