This is how we are 020511
This blog comes to you from the people at
Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO
www.peacemennonitechurch.net (under construction)
Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.
Blessings of the Righteous
1 Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures for ever.
4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered for ever.
7 They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures for ever;
their horn is exalted in honour.
10 The wicked see it and are angry;
they gnash their teeth and melt away;
the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.
13 The Lord said:
Because these people draw near with their mouths
and honour me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;
14 so I will again do
amazing things with this people,
shocking and amazing.
The wisdom of their wise shall perish,
and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.
15 Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the Lord,
whose deeds are in the dark,
and who say, ‘Who sees us? Who knows us?’
16 You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?
Shall the thing made say of its maker,
‘He did not make me’;
or the thing formed say of the one who formed it,
‘He has no understanding’?
The Tradition of the Elders
7Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands,* thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it;* and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.*) 5So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not live* according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?’ 6He said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
“This people honours me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.”
8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This is how we are 020511
As the blog heading describes, we are here as part of our work with Peace Mennonite Church of Columba, MO but the scriptures today warn us of what churches, religious Christians and we may become.
Isaiah and Mark speak of the rituals of Judaism, but the same ideas could be applied to the rituals and practice of Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism. I hope to learn more of the Hindu religion, and of Islam, but because people are what people are, I suspect the observations of Isaiah and Mark’s Jesus remain true.
We all are in the habit of getting into the habit. Somehow we all get to a point in our religious practice and spiritual practice where we follow a certain ritual when we worship, whether worship here means praying, singing, dancing in a circle, sitting in meditation, or walking through a labyrinth. We eventually begin to mistake the worship ritual for the ritual. We then tend to expect or think that we are blessed, spiritually high or guaranteed salvation by these rituals. Jesus tells us we are mistaken, rituals are not worship.
[As an interesting side topic, how often do we notice that the rules of Judaism and early Christianity are rules for ‘Sustainability’ and simple living in a harsh landscape and climate of Israel. Washing ones hands is a very good and necessary practice, but it was so necessary it was redefined as ritual cleansing]
There are several ways of keeping our spiritual lives vibrant and challenging. One way might be to worship in the company of energetic, alive, and intellectually wonderful spiritual people. We are blessed with such people in our church, and I see everyone as being continually challenged and assisted in growing spiritually.
Also, it has never been this way for me before, everyone I am around these days seems to be very nice and sweet natured. Nothing, for me, seems to enable the peace that spiritual practice both enables and brings than a peaceful and loving human community. When our church calls itself a Peace church, this is partly what it means—that peace in me, peace in the church and community and peace in this world are all related.
Peace, and I mean it,