On 16 January 1994, in a local church, Frank gave a sermon titled
“A Lesson from the Beginners Guide to Compassionate Living.” The Guide
that he was referring to was the Bible. (For the complete text of the
As I was scanning this sermon for publication on our website, I read
again about the man healed by Jesus (John 5:1-20) and how the religious
leaders of the day criticized the healed and the Healer for working on
5. And a certain man was there, who had been thirty-eight years in
8. Jesus said to him, "Arise, take up your pallet, and walk."
9. And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and
began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day.
10. Therefore the Jews were saying to him who was cured, "It is the
Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet."
~ New American Standard Bible
Reading this, I started to think about the rigidity – adherence to
rules and regulations that are used as a substitute for God’s ultimate
Law: Love – still found in religions world-wide. I thought about how
Jesus was trying to “get down to basics” and was teaching that it is
really all about love and compassion.
People also forget that the regulations, as found in Leviticus, in
the Hebrew Bible were given by God as concessions after the fall; they
were meant as a way of bringing humans (“…the intent of man's heart is
evil from his youth….” Genesis 8:21) under control – stop-gap measures,
one might say – until the fulfillment of God’s original intent as
described in Genesis before the fall.
As I’ve written before, perfect love does fulfill the Law, but
because we are not perfect, it does not profit us to eliminate those
aspects of the Law that are there to prevent us from sinning.
For many people rituals that are not harmful to any of God’s
creatures can be uplifting and serve a purpose, but only if God’s
ultimate Law – love for all of His creation – has first place in their
hearts. Religious celebrations or gatherings that include the torture of
animals and/or the consumption of any animal-derived products – all of
which are produced from the suffering of animals – do not honor God;
they are blasphemous.