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October 13, 2015

The good news for today

After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited Him to a meal at his home. He arrived and settled in to eat. The Pharisee was shocked to see that He failed to do the washing prescribed before the meal. (Luke 11)

Society expects you to do things—to behave a certain way, to follow social customs—to conform. Sometimes, you do. You drive on one side of the road, you pay bills, you wear clothes, and you do your job.

But others expect more and criticize social misbehavior—and express their “shock” at your waywardness. This seems especially true of moneyed people, those who have become upper class, or people accustomed to affecting by their beauty and intelligence—along with strong bullying personalities and entrenched officials. They expect you to be controlled by social patterns—and other norms of society.

Jesus flouted the socio-religious expectation of a high-ranking man.

You are Jesus, constantly being pressured by society to conform to external expectations—religious, legal, and social. You are familiar with them. You know what others expect of you. You also know you’re not of this generation. You decide internally—in your heart and soul—what is important and what is mere obedience.

External obedience—even “religious” obedience—for the sake of obedience—can be a sin. You are not obeying the “law of Christ”—which emphasizes your caring, your being alert to neighbors, and your being driven by people’s needs not by society’s customs. Followers of Jesus become free to follow customs or not—because what motivates you is not habit, conventions or patterns—laws—but loving, healing, and forgiving here and now.

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