We’re back, and there’s all the more reason to distribute sacraments along with potential controversy! How many people actually get what Jesus was telling us? Paul certainly did!
The legalism of the Old Testament, especially The Law, was a stumbling-block for people. And I’m sure that most of us can think of something we were never attracted to until someone tried to prohibit it! And that’s the reason for the Kingdom of Heaven and the Spirit.
And if we follow the Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit will exclude the fruits of The Law, giving us something far greater!
We had a bit of a problem. A couple of problems, actually. One was a bunch of storms that kept me busy between the air conditioner and making sure that the basement didn’t flood. The other is that the main computer where most of my creative and administrative stuff is kept, suddenly died.
We’re working on some major upgrades, and the new machine is here. So, next week you’ll have Holy Communion again and perhaps I’ll be able to bring more on-line.
Here’s more potential controversy! At any rate, it won’t sit well with some folks. In the Epistle, Paul points out that the same grace is given to all. This extends from those who were closest to Jesus, such as Peter, to those like Paul who had once persecuted Jesus’ followers.
The gospel points out another basic fact, that being that excessive pride does not bring grace. A Pharisee and a tax collector went to pray in the temple. The Pharisee was supposedly a paragon of righteousness, while the tax collector was seen as a crook. But who was it that went home justified?
You’ve noticed I’m sure that some weeks have been missing. I’m trying a new scheduling format. That way, I’m not so dependent on any one particular person besides myself being at a particular place or time.
HEAVY RELEVANT STUFF ALERT: The Gospel reading is one most of us know, but deserves being refreshed in our mind from time to time. This is especially true in time of elections, or any other time when politicians or others are posturing themselves and claiming what “good Christians” they are. If you know a tree by its fruits, please understand that you do not have to wait for the harvest to see if the fruit is good or bad.
If someone wants to claim to be a “good Christian”, see how they measure up to the example which Christ himself set! There was someone who would minister to lepers, publicans and all kinds of other outcasts. While his neighbors detested Samaritans, Jesus ministered to them, and even journeyed through their country.
Again, what seems to be a difficult Gospel verse that you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and the scribes. But, what does it mean? The Pharisees and scribes devoted their lives to following all of the rules. Do we have to out-do them in following nitpicky rules, or is there something greater that they missed?
And with that, Jesus shows us what is at the heart of genuine righteousness.