Wednesday 25 August 2010

Bible Book:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth." (v.27)

Matthew 23:27-32 Wednesday 25 August 2010


The hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law isexposed by Christ in this passage as they are waiting for anopportunity to jump on Jesus and catch him out. He throws at themthe full anger he feels for their deceit. He accuses them of makingthemselves look whiter than white whilst inside they are full ofwickedness. In the final verses we read how he challenges thesedeceitful people to finish what they started and execute him. Butin so doing they are making nonsense of themselves for they are thedescendants of those who murdered the Old Testament prophets. Whata contradiction of belief if they are to condemn those who murderedthe prophets of the past, yet go on to continue what theirforefathers started.

Whitewashed houses along a sea front on the Mediterranean coastlook delightful to the passing tourist. Entering your localbuilding society offices and being met by a row of uniformed peoplelooking identical can be a reassuring sight. But who are thesepeople and what lies behind a row of pretty cottages basked insunlight?

The work the Methodist Church in Britain did on domestic abuse in 2005 revealed thatthere are likely to be just as many perpetrators of this dreadfulsocietal ill inside the Methodist Church as there are in Britishsociety as a whole.

Community leaders who abuse their power leaves those who are thechildren of God with little self-esteem or energy for the real workof being God's agents in the world today. If the casual enquirerwho prises open the fiercely-guarded doors of a church finds onlydry bones and a sour smell, how will the church ever becomeattractive?

To Ponder

From your experience of church, what do you thinkhas been put into a box and left with the lid shut?

What have we made pristine which should be activeand soiled by the ways of the world?

How has fear of contamination that infiltratesthe horizons and the gutters of our world in areas of health,safety from terrorism, natural disasters, financial insecurity andpersonal discomfort influenced the way we lead our lives? What arewe afraid of?

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