If there are two words that don’t go very well together I think the words “love” and “debt” are good candidates. We aren’t in love with our debts and if we are emotionally healthy we don’t think the people we love owe us love in return. So what might I be thinking when I bring the two words together?
I’m thinking we need to do something with our epistle lesson for today, namely Romans 13:8-14 which includes, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another;” (Rom 13:8a NRSV). If there is something I have learned, slowly, over the past few years it is that love is not a transactional kind of thing. The Beatles famously sang, “Can’t buy me love” and I think we all agree with them. If we can’t buy love, how can there be owing or debts involved with it?
I think it is helpful if we remember that “debt” can be another word for “obligation.” If we make a small substitution we have “Have no obligations to anyone, except to love one another;” (me) which makes it a bit easier to see what I mean. We are obliged to love one another. We have an obligation to love one another. It isn’t anything so crass as paying off your credit card it is a comprehensive requirement to be more interested in someone else’s well-being than what they might be able to do for us.
Give the sermon a listen, I think I make my point better there than here but feel free to let me know if I don’t.
PS It is SO good to be back. I very much appreciated and needed the time away but I missed all of you very much.