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August 30, 2015

The good news for today

Criticized by the powers-that-be because his followers failed at hand-washing according to the tradition of the Jews, Jesus retorts, “How well did Isaiah prophesy about you fakes—as it is written: This group of people honors me with their lips, but their cores motives are far from me; it is empty, their worship of me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but maintain human tradition.” (Mark 7)

You see a lot of this today. In institutional churches, in individuals, and in areas of common culture.

Preachers pray the “LORD JESUS!” and quote the Bible and know this verse and that parable. They know their particular texts and quote them about this issue or that stance. They emphasize their tradition, and their courage in preaching Jesus out loud to a secular culture…but….

But the reading is always about you, not “they,” or “them.” The gooder I am, the subtler the hypocrisy I practice. Yes, you and I practice goodness—offering our good works of simple kindness along with occasional courageous acts of charity, generosity, and mediation. We do these things so that people can see the Father’s family, the love of God, and the Jesus whom we follow. The Good News is that—sometimes—we catch ourselves practicing religiosity, worshiping our view of righteousness, letting others know (ever so carelessly) how good I am. And you and I sometimes fail to “practice what we preach.”

One of the great Psalms (19 Hebrew[KJV]/18 Greek) reminds us: “But who can discern their own crossing boundaries? Forgive me what lies hidden from me.” And: ”Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” The Good news is that your awareness, your alertness—includes your own soul; the thief comes and you are ready! Be glad you catch it! Be your own sensitive conscience and love God again.

Criticized by the powers-that-be because his followers failed at hand-washing according to the tradition of the Jews, Jesus retorts, “How well did Isaiah prophesy about you fakes—as it is written: This group of people honors me with their lips, but their cores motives are far from me; it is empty, their worship of me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but maintain human tradition.” (Mark 7)

You see a  lot of this today. In institutional churches, in individuals, and in areas of common culture.

Preachers pray the “LORD JESUS!” and quote the Bible and know this verse and that parable. They know their particular texts and quote them about this issue or that stance. They emphasize their tradition, and their courage in preaching Jesus out loud to a secular culture…but….

But the reading is always about you, not “they,” or “them.” The gooder I am, the subtler the hypocrisy I practice. Yes, you and I practice goodness—offering our good works of simple kindness along with  occasional courageous acts of charity, generosity, and mediation. We do these things so that people can see the Father’s family, the love of God, and the Jesus whom we follow.  The Good News is that—sometimes—we catch ourselves practicing religiosity, worshiping our view of righteousness, letting others know (ever so carelessly) how good I am. And you and I sometimes fail to “practice what we preach.”

One of the great Psalms (19 Hebrew[KJV]/18 Greek) reminds us: “But who can discern their own crossing boundaries? Forgive me what lies hidden from me.” And: ”Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.”  The Good news is that your awareness, your alertness—includes your own soul; the thief comes and you are ready! Be glad you catch it! Be your own sensitive conscience and love God again.

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