NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 29, 2021
On this Second Sunday of Kingdomtide, the assigned Gospel text pose a question about what influences our lives more when we have chosen to be followers of Christ. A little self-introspection based of Richard Niebuhr’s book, Christ and Culture, might surprise most of us. While most of us would love to boldly proclaim we follow Christ; in practice, we’d be amazing at how much we follow tradition, more than Christ.
In Niebuhr’s book, he begins with definitions. He first asks, “Who is Christ?” He answers, “Christ is the New Testament figure, the One whom Christians accept as their authority. … Belief in (Christ) and loyalty to Christ’s cause involves humans in the double movement from the world to God and from God to the world.” Niebuhr then asks, “What is culture?” He answers, “It is the social life of humanity, the environment created by human beings in the areas of ‘language, habits, ideas, beliefs, customs, social organization, inherited artifacts, technical process, and values.’” In other words, tradition.
The question is, “How do we as followers of Christ live faithfully to God as we relate to the culture and traditions surrounding us?” In this event from the life of Jesus in Mark 7, assigned for this Sunday, religious authorities question Jesus as to why His disciples don’t follow tradition, “follow rules handed down from the elders.” (Mark 7:5) Jesus replies quoting Isaiah “You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans and handed down to you.” (Mark 7:8)
Getting to know God’s commandment(s) and following those will help you live in right relationship with God while relating properly to the culture and traditions around us.
So, join Covenant for worship in-person or by Zoom or Facebook Livestream this Sunday. I will be sharing how to do this in a sermon called “Are You Following Tradition or Christ?” based on Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23, (CEB).