"I’m free, to do what I want, any old time," sang the Rolling Stones. But is that really what true freedom is? Is that really what we would want? It sounds good, at least initially. But in practice, it’s not.
My kids and I like playing board games. Sometimes my kids want to dispense with the rules- especially if the game isn’t exactly going their way. I’ll usually go with the flow, but after not very long, the game inevitably breaks down. It gets confusing. It becomes unfair. And it’s no longer any fun.
We need rules, laws. Not just in board games, but also in our faith journey with the Lord. The journey isn’t just about the rules. That would be oppressive, and lead us to think that God owes us something if we did our duty. Christianity isn’t about rules; it’s about relationship. It’s not a contract, it’s a covenant. At its heart is love, not laws.
But we do need the laws, as Jesus stressed in today’s gospel. We can trust that they’re good. After all, they’re from God! We can trust that they’re good for us, because God knows best. And, ironic as it may sound, keeping them can set us free. Not free to do what we want, any old time. But the freedom, joy, and peace, than can only come by being an obedient child of God.