Sometimes St. Paul strikes me as someone who does not have much experience in life. Maybe it’s that he was never married.
This week’s reading from the Letter to the Romans is a case-in-point. In it, Paul writes, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” I have yet to experience, to say nothing of have, love that does no wrong. I don’t expect to. At least not in this lifetime.
Back to marriage for a moment. There is a prayer for the couple in our marriageservice that I particularly love. I actually mentioned it in my reflection last week. It is this: “Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each other's forgiveness and yours. Amen.” (BCP, p. 429) I love its gentle and pastoral wisdom. Those who love each other—married couples, friends, parents and children, co-workers, neighbors—will indeed, from time to time, hurt each other. Sometimes a lot.
I also love the pastoral prescription, the grace to acknowledge fault and seek forgiveness.
I’m a lot more inclined that recognizing the reality as the Prayer Book does is a lot more helpful than the high standard Paul sets. It seems to me that the fulfilling of the law is in seeking forgiveness rather than never needing it. At least in this lifetime.
Bishop Stacy Sauls
Chief Executive Officer
Love Must Act