March 24, 2014

Matthew 5:37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

I’ve heard the expression both ways; that God is in the details and that the devil is in the details. According to the Wikipedia article; “The idiom ‘the devil is in the detail’ derives from the earlier phrase, ‘God is in the detail;’ expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important.” I first heard that God is in the detail from an interview with Stephen Sondheim one of my favorite musical theater composers (Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, Company, West Side Story). Listening to his music and lyrics it was easy to hear how every note and nuance was absolutely essential to the work of art and that it was the detail, even the tiniest, that elevated the song or the show to an uncharted place. In creativity God is in the detail. But in much of the rest of life perhaps it is the devil that gets in the details. The above is Jesus’ final comment in a passage from the Sermon on the Mount warning against oaths. The last words here translate the phrase “the evil,” the same words used in the Lord’s Prayer “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (literally “the evil”). It is all too tempting to think we can talk our way out of a situation or around a problem or through a set of circumstances. We probably all know some people who are pretty good at this from a worldly perspective. But when it is just you and me or you and God, Jesus suggests the plain and simple truth even when it doesn’t always feel plain or simple. Where before God or others do you need to give an honest yes or no this week?

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1 Comment

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One response to “March 24, 2014

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