Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels in us All

My corporate worship habit every Sunday is to find a moment to pray to get myself centered.

This is not a leisurely undertaking since, as a choir member, I have a lot to do to get ready for the service to start.  But I find if I don’t take time to center myself I feel something is lacking all throughout the service.

My usual centering prayer starts something like this:

Lord, thank you for bringing me to this happy place where in this community of faith I can learn to know you and follow you more clearly.”

Sometimes I add other stuff or pray for specific people but mostly, I confess, I am trying to get ready to be part of our corporate worship so most Sunday’s it feels “good enough.”

That works to prepare me most Sunday’s, but today’s lesson was from Matthew 5:21-37 and it was four of the six antitheses from Jesus Sermon on the Mount.  You know what’s coming don’t you.

Prepare to get right with me, you dirty, rotten scoundrels. The words are harsh and the message to the disciples is that Jesus knows they have sinned in their hearts and broken virtually all the commandments—as He is interpreting them– and it is time to come clean, live right or get ready for the fire.

Wow!*%  BAM!@#  POW #@&! Can’t we just go back to the Beatitudes?

Jesus is telling his friends that he is going to start “unfriending” them if they don’t quit misinterpreting the law Moses spoke about to conveniently fit the circumstances.  In essence, you slackers are skating on the edge of the truth instead of living the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Oh, Oh—busted!

You mean we not only have to follow the laws of Moses, but we have to get our minds, and hearts and souls under control so we resist the temptations we only imagine committing?

Jesus is telling us that God’s law means we have to obey the intent and spirit of the law by living right and doing right and ‘sinning in our hearts alone is still sinning’.

I think my centering prayer next Sunday is going to be a little longer.


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