Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 97; 145, Jeremiah 30:1-9, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 6:1-11
The opening paragraphs of Paul’s letter to the Colossians are nothing short of joyful. He is thankful for the love they show one another. He commends them for the good fruits they bear. He encourages them to continue growing in strength, patience, and all the blessings found in the glory of God. And he celebrates with them the redemption and forgiveness found in Christ.
Contrast this with our passage from Luke. The Pharisees in the temple condemn hungry disciples for simply plucking a few heads of wheat to crush between their fingers and eat, because these actions break the strict interpretation of some Sabbath prohibitions. When, on another Sabbath, a man with a withered hand appears in the temple, Jesus practically dares them to stop him from healing the man. In their midst the miraculous power of God is revealed. How do they keep from shouting in wonder, applauding, or singing praises? Somehow they manage. And what’s more, they resent it so much they further their plot against him.
Faith is joyful, but religion can suck the joy right out of it.
It seems like every church has a person or clique who appoint themselves to the Corrections Committee. The Corrections Committee is sure to tell us when we improperly pass the collection plate, when we volunteer for a duty that belongs to someone else (because it always has), or when we’ve mowed the grass in the wrong pattern. Typical members of the Corrections Committee complain about how they seem to have to do everything themselves, yet refuse to give anything up.
For your own peace of mind and spirit, resist all urges to join the Corrections Committee. It will never lack members waiting to pounce on a misplaced sugar bowl. Instead, seek reasons to find the joy in your faith community. Celebrate the history of the Spirit in your fellowship, but don’t chain it to the past. Most importantly, don’t deny people a place at Christ’s table because they don’t know which fork to use. Life and faith are hard enough. Don’t keep the joy under lock and key.
Comfort: Christ’s burden is light!
Challenge: So don’t make it unnecessarily heavy for yourself or others.
Prayer: God of Grace and Mercy, I will seek the joy you offer. Amen.
Discussion: Have you ever found yourself serving on the Corrections Committee?
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