November 2, 2008

Matthew 23:1-121 Thessalonians 2:9-13 Those poor old scribes and Pharisees! The Gospel writers sure give them a hard time! It’s easy to start thinking of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day as really terrible people — as hypocrites, as stuck-up, high & mighty, selfish people who enjoyed lording their knowledge and authority over everyone else. The Pharisees really do get a bad reputation in the Gospels as the people who were too concerned with the letter of the religious law, and not enough concerned with the spirit of it. Matthew’s Gospel has Jesus pointing to the scribes and Pharisees and saying, “do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.” Now, the Pharisees aren’t ALL bad. Jesus is acknowledging that most of their teachings are okay. The problem is that they’re not following their own teachings. They’re not really living by them. They’re talking the talk, but not really walking the walk. I feel for the Pharisees though, because walking the walk can be tough. Most of the time, it’s not too hard to figure out what would be the right thing to do. It’s actually following through and DOING the right thing that’s more challenging. And as soon as you’re in a position of teaching someone else how to do something, the pressure comes on for you to get it right too. Perhaps those of you who are parents can relate to this… when you find … Read more »

October 26, 2014

Deuteronomy 34:1-12 Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 “Moses or Joshua?” The words of the psalmist, and some of the songs based on them have been running through my head all week: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God… Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.” It has been quite a week in our country. Two soldiers were run down by a car, and one of them killed on Monday in Quebec. Another soldier was shot as he stood guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa. A young man who was clearly mentally unstable ran into the Parliament buildings and began to shoot. MPs, journalists, and tourists barricaded themselves in rooms until he could be stopped. And then we watched and listened to the reaction over the next few days. We saw politicians hugging each other. We heard about bystanders helping and encouraging the injured. There were certainly some words of anger and fear, and the suggestion that this occurrence might change our country in a significant way. But mostly, we heard expressions of courage and determination to stay strong and to stand together. Prayers were being lifted up from every corner of our country, and from every culture and religion, for the loved ones of those who were killed, and for peace and safety for all. I came across a … Read more »