March 31, 2020

Today’s reflection on Matthew 23 by our Assistant Program Director, Angie Smith.

I’ll confess that when I looked at today’s Matthew reading my reaction wasn’t positive. How was I going to find any good news in Jesus’ rant about the teaching practices of the scribes and the Pharisees?

This is one of the Biblical texts that has historically (and sadly still today) is used to force the idea of anti-Jewish rhetoric in the church. Let me be very clear about this- that’s not an acceptable/responsible use of this text or any Biblical text.

In its historical context, this is about teaching styles, the style of the scribes and the Pharisees versus the style of Jesus. It’s important to note that Jesus doesn’t have an issue with the words of the scribes and the Pharisees, just their actions. Jesus is trying to convey to his disciples that teaching is twofold, what you say and what you do. In other words, Jesus wants people to practice what they preach.

There is a difference talking theoretically about loving your neighbor and in practice loving your neighbor. As Christians, we are called to both preach about loving our neighbor and practice loving our neighbor. You might know all the Lutheran doctrine, but unless you put that doctrine into practice in your daily life, what good is it? What we confess should impact how we act.  And if it doesn’t, we need to look at why and then make a change.

During this time Grace is continuing our weekly community meal, we doing our best to help those who come to our door for assistance, we are working on getting all of our small groups back up and running (stay tuned for more info), and we have started a new outreach project. As always, if you need anything please reach out to a member of our staff.