As Jesus prepares to leave his disciples, he instructs them to preach, baptize, and teach. The teach piece has me this morning as his instructions are to "teach them to obey everything I have commanded you."
This is not a terribly long list.
Love God. Love neighbor as self.
And yet. And yet, as we talked about at our adult forum on Sunday, many churches are Pauline rather than Christian. Many Churches teach the many rules of Paul, written to the many issues of a young church, addressed to several different communities and cultures, as the commandments of Jesus. We need a lot of rules as we start out in the faith, its true, but as we develop our sense of spiritual hearing, the rules become less important as the Spirit begins to lead with power and might.
Jesus told his disciples (that is to say, us) to preach, baptize, and teach. He commanded that we obey just a few impossibly simple rules, and gave us the Spirit to guide us along the way. Too often ,however, pastors use the rule thing to gain power and authority rather than allowing the Spirit to empower and strengthen another. Jesus' list of rules is exhaustive, but it shouldn't be exhausting.