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Archive for May 12th, 2017

Dirty Sex

Probably the most loved and one of the most quoted Bible passages is, “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19: 18b), and rightly so.  The Lord quotes it as the summation of the Law and the Prophets, see Mark 12:30-31.  St. Paul ends The Epistle to the Romans with doctrine for the Church, on the summation of the second table of the Law:

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Note that the beloved Apostle first spells out the second table of the Law before he sums it up.  The details are important. 

Portions of Leviticus 18 are the Old Testament reading for this day, and here is part of the lection:

20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean,25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.

This was called at one time, dirty sex.  Here the Bible could be “rated X”.  We like “love your neighbor” but the post-modern worldlings do not like at all this passage from Leviticus and it’s clear the reason:  they approve of such things.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1;  emphasis added).

The Lord calls a thing what it is: unclean.  It is dirty and we all know it, and many deny that filth and are raging in their vociferous denials. Woody Allen said, “Is sex dirty?  Only when it is being done right”.  Mr. Allen is wrong.  At one time he would have been considered dirty.  The love of a husband and wife, and it’s goal, is not filth, but union, pure pleasure and joy.

First note that what we are seeing today is no aberration of the norms of the past.  As it was in the first century it is today.  As it was in Eden so it is everyday.  Deviancy has become the ‘norm’.  The aberrations are not according to human reasoning, but the Lord’s teaching.  Second, it is clear what our response is and this too is not according to our norms. Here is the immediate context of the “love your neighbor” text in Leviticus 19:

17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

My first response is my own moral superiority and vengeance! I am the chief of sinners, wrote the Apostle and we are all part of that tribe. AS Christ’s own, we have been washed and cleansed in His blood in Holy Baptism. We needed so to be washed and do everyday, just like our daily bathroom ablutions.  Hate will not cleanse anyone…including you and I.  We are called to “reason frankly” with our neighbors. Vengeance in thought, word and deed profits nothing:  from the seclusion of our feelings to what we say on a blog, or plan to do someone who is unclean. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).  1 Corinthians 16:  13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.  Third, the Lord’s cleansing is for all people.  He desires all people to be saved (cf. Matthew 28: 19-20;  1 Timothy 2: 1-4).  We are not to “show someone the door”, get out!  We are to show someone the Door and He says: come in!

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10: 9)

 

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