Jesus says in today’s Gospel ” I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” I have often wondered what he meant by this until I read an article on the use of binding and loosing regarding the Torah and the Laws contained in it. Instead of the usual interpretation as forgiving of sins or being the gatekeeper of Heaven, the article says Jesus is referring to whether laws apply or not in new situations. His charge to the community of his followers is that they have the responsibility of deciding how to apply the laws of old to a changing world. The metaphor of keys tells of a call to unlock the scriptures in our time. The charge is not to use the the scriptures to lock people in but to open the doors to the liberating power of God.
The midwives of the time of Moses’ birth had to choose obedience to pharaoh or their faith in God. Paul in Romans puts it this way – be a living sacrifice – do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. There will always be choices – some have life threatening and life giving possibilities – often the same choice contains both.
A statement I heard this week encapsulates what I think the readings are saying to us as a people of God.
“I tell you with my life that God is good.”
Can we witness to this goodness as we live our lives this week?
Image: Photo of keys for sermon at Grace Episcopal Church, Astoria, OR by Ann Fontaine