Daily Reflection
July 21st, 2000
Shirley Scritchfield
Institutional Research & Assessment
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Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor - Optional Memorial 
Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8
Isaiah 38:10-12, 16
Matthew 12:1-8

Rules—rules—rules!  Oh, how we humans hold on to our rules, despite the way they can hide the love of God.

Today’s gospel reading illustrates that dilemma.  It is the Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples are walking through a grain field, and the hungry disciples begin to “pluck” the grain and eat.  And—to use a current descriptor—the Pharisees go ballistic!  Such behavior was defined as unlawful and they in their self-righteousness rush to judge and condemn.  Oh, those Pharisees—how angry they make us from the vantage point of the 21st century!

But are we so different?  Oh, we like to think so, but I wonder.  We humans consistently make rules that separate, conventions that obscure the face of God—and all too often we think we do so in the name of God.

A-ah, but God doesn’t come to us in such neat boxes.  God didn’t write the rules, we did.  No, the One Who Is comes to us wherever and whenever we act out of compassion and love—and sometimes in the most amazing moments.

As I write this, I am attending a conference at the University of Delaware.  Yesterday—in a break from workshop presentations—several of us visited Lancaster country, Pennsylvania, home to one of the largest Amish communities in the U.S.  While there, my companions and I had the opportunity to have dinner in the home of an Amish farm family. 

Now, this was a most improbable encounter—the Amish family with their rules about dress and demeanor, living in a new home with no electricity, gas lighting, and using a horse drawn buggy for transportation—and, we academicians from throughout the U.S., arriving by chartered bus.  Our conventions and norms dramatically different—and yet…

After dinner, the family sought to entertain us with the singing of hymns.  And, then, it happened.  Two disparate peoples, drawn from two contrasting (and contradictory) cultures all joined together in the singing of Amazing Grace.  As the harmonies emerged and the voices blended, I was enveloped in the wonder of it all.  No words can capture the blessing of that moment.  Our differences melted away—no rules, no laws—just compassion and love—the presence of God.  Amazing Grace indeed. 

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