Going Deeper 3/18/2019

An excerpt from yesterday's message... (full text attached)
Instead of being a “light unto the nations” and a “servant” (see the prophet Isaiah), Israel was increasingly filled with nationalistic and exclusionistic fervor.  It became all about them, all about national power, prosperity, and prestige.  And at the time of the coming of the Christ, the promised anointed One through whom God would finally carry out His plan to heal and reunite His children, Jesus was surrounded by people who longed for their nation to be restored through miraculous military might to a level of national power, prosperity, and prestige equal to what had happened during the reign of King David.  Instead, their Messiah called them to love, forgive, and serve… even their enemies.  Jesus Himself reached out to heal and to bless and to forgive their enemies.

Another equally—if not more powerful contributor to the downfall of Israel and its capital and religious headquarters, Jerusalem, was that relationship was replaced by religion.  The rites and rituals established in order to help them to remember their calling and to respond by living in a dynamic and powerful relationship with God and with one another became meaningless and mindless religious activities.  They became focused on simply doing things they hoped would appease an angry God and/or merit His special blessings upon them and upon their nation.

Do you know what was missing?  Love!  All of this activity, all of the mindless duties, were empty and meaningless because they were no longer seen as opportunities to remember and to relive and to respond to the incredible love God had powerfully and dramatically poured out upon them throughout their history. Relationship gave way to religion; love gave way to mindless activity.

So, what is the message for us?  I hope it’s clear.  We can learn from their mistakes.  We are called to relationship.  We are called to service.  We are called to love.  We are not called to be religious.  We must not simply and mindlessly go through the motions, fulfilling our religious duties.  No!  Everything we do as God’s people must emulate and stimulate love… love for God, love for one another, love for all.

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

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