Discipleship for 3 September 2012

The Readings

Word of Life

  1. Being honest, I don’t know a great deal about the pharisees and scribes beyond what little I remember form previous days at church, and what I’ve read in this recent post. This is part of why I’m spending as much time as I am. I need to know this stuff before I attempt to bring up a child to know this stuff.
  2. Strained is a word that well describes the relationship of Jesus to the Pharisees and the Scribes. He was shaking the boat. Boat-shakers are not generally appreciated until they’re done shaking and the boat is steady again.
  3. Jesus threatened the authority of past tradition, and of the Pharisees themselves in his choice not to honor the old ways, or to demand those same ways of his students.
  4. Probably not. They seemed to be looking to discredit Jesus and I believe they wanted to find a way to cling to the old ways.
  5. Jesus wanted them to see beyond the letter of the law, and into the spirit of the law. He wanted them to be more than followers, but to be doers (Oh! How unintentionally clever of me to accidentally link this back to yesterdays’ themes!)
  6. It clearly is. We see it every day in people who pick and choose the parts of the bible they put forward to defend their views. Today people will put forward a religious faith and do all in accordance with Gods will in attending church and putting on the proper face, but in the way they live their lives they are selfish, self-centered, and unwilling to provide help for those who need it.
  7. The “Sunday Christian”. They put on sunday clothes and go to church, but if they dive past someone on their way there they won’t even stop to check that they’re all right. They’d simply drive on to avoid being late.
  8. Listening is easy. You only need to stop talking. Understanding is harder. You have to be willing to set aside your preconceptions and take in that which you hear, blend it into your own existing knowledge, and let it grow from there.
  9. Kindness seems to be at the heart of much of what Jesus teaches. Living well not just for yourself, but for others and towards others.

Word Among Us

  1. I can totally relate to him. I remember thinking similar things as a child.
  2. My mother would let me play with my food. I was notoriously unwilling to slow down and eat. She used tons of ways to make sure I got enough.
  3. If I drink caffeine at the wrong points in the day I can actually end up unable to sleep. And I suspect I have some sort of food allergy (I haven’t kept my food diary long enough to be sure, but it’s looking like at least some sensitivity to dairy) that disrupts my stomach terribly.
  4. Not particularly. Aside from digestive issues related to classes of foods and things like allergies.
  5. Definitely not. Good is a matter of how you treat yourself and others and has nothing to do with church. Though church can teach a child to be a good person, and can encourage people to stay on the right path, it cannot make anyone take the proper path in life.
  6. Treating others well, treating yourself well, and acting with kindness and compassion towards the world around you.
  7. Negative. People shouldn’t put forward faces so false.
  8. Through practice. It can be hard sometimes, but simply working every day to be the best person you can be can help you to actually become that person you’re striving to be.
  9. It’s seen time and time again. The biggest way I see it is those who believe in the “sanctity of marriage” and want to shut out part of the population from the legal benefits of marriage in the eyes of the government.
  10. See previous answer.
  11. By simply striving to live within Jesus will, and walk in his ways.
  12. To put others first more. To worry less about myself and what I want, and worry more about what others need.

Sermon for 2 September 2012

A Preface

I would like to open this, the first of my posts, with a few quick details for those reading this. First off, this is from a Lutheran Perspective. And not just any Lutheran, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America brand of Lutheran. I figure it’s only fair to warn people that I’m from the “Progressive” branch of this faith so that you don’t go into things expecting something I’m completely not.

Secondly, I would like to note that (while I’m not linking directly to it) I am using the Good News Translation of the Bible (sometimes called “Today’s English Version”) for all texts. As soon as I can manage, I’ll update the links so that they link to this version.

Readings

  • First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, Deuteronomy 4:6-9
  • Second Reading: James 1:17-27
  • Psalms 15:1-5
  • Gospel: Mark 7:1-8, Mark 7:14-15, Mark 7:21-23

Kitsu’s Thinking

I can’t help but think that today was an incredible Lutheran set of passages. There are layers of cautions about putting scripture before tradition, and worshiping the Lord rather than the traditions to which we have become accustomed.

The Pastor’s sermon had an emphasis on the place of tradition within the church, and the idea that tradition, in both life and religion, should serve a purpose. That is to say, avoid tradition for tradition’s sake, keep those that still hold true to the heart of the matter instead of simply binding yourself to a tradition without thought to why that tradition is or is not significant.

Now, stepping away from the sermon itself a bit, There are a few lines of the scripture that jumped out at me today. The first is James 1:26. It reads “Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself.” and the second is Mark 7:21-22 which reads “For from the inside, from your heart, come the evil ideas which lead you to do immoral things, to rob, kill,┬ácommit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of evil things; deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride, and folly“. It seems like a great deal of the emphansis in the passages read is also towards the fact that we are the source of our own downfalls… That we are the greatest danger to ourselves…

The state of this planet seems to support that! To me, it says that we should all work harder to be better people, to take better care of one another. To be better to the very root of our souls. On the cover of today’s bulletin are the words “Be the doers of the world” (James 1:22).

Better advice for life cannot be had.