Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Authority Do We Have to Bind or Loose?

I thought I might try something different for a while. Over on Doorman-Priest, when I was guest blogger I asked readers to conttribute to a discussion about the upcoming readings for Sunday. It was kind of e-Bible Study, and I think it was pretty fun. So I'd like to try it here. I confess my ulterior motive: I always get something out of such activites as fodder for my own sermon!

Here's the Gospel for Sunday. (It won't always be the Gospel, and I think the format of this may change with time, but let's see how this goes.)

Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus said, "If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."

As usual, there's all kinds of food for reflection here. I think what strikes me up front is this idea of binding and loosing. It's unique to Matthew's Gospel, and it's important for a vairety of reasons, I suspect. That's a truism, so perhaps it's me that thinks it's important at this time in my life and the life of the parish.

What does "binding and loosing" seem to mean? Does it really mean there's some sort of parralelism between heaven and earth, and that we have authority here on earth? What's this authority about then? What gets loosed and bound anyway? How do we decide? Doe all Christians have this?

I look forward to the discussion!


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