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.
- 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
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, commit 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.