The opening of Jesus’ final discourse in the Gospel of Matthew is a sharp warning against religious hubris. Jesus uses hyperbole to highlight the pretentiousness of a subset of the Jewish leadership. To be clear, the Pharisees of Jesus’ day were not his mortal enemies. From the outset, Jesus acknowledges...
God who searches the depth of our being, ground us firmly in your love for us, so that we may have the courage to face the truth of our failings. We long for you to mend our brokenness and restore us in humility. Amen.
An overarching theme of the All Saints Day lectionary texts is “Keep pressing forward, despite observable challenges, because God is still at work among us.” Joshua seeks to bolster the sojourner’s faith by linking the present moment with the rescuing actions of God in the past. The psalm is a song of corporate thanksgiving, a deep inhalation and a collective sigh of relief from the those who were drowning in the dark waters of exile. In Thessalonians we read an apostolic plea to allow the word of God to continue its revelatory, good-news work among believers. And in Matthew we hear the charged opening of Jesus’ final discourse, as he sharply warns against religious arrogance and hypocrisy that can hinder God’s work of kingdom justice.
Read Joshua 3:7-17. When have you had to trust leaders for the good of your community?Read Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37. Recall difficult times in your faith journey. How did you experience God’s steadfast love through these times? Read 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13. What daily practices give you insight into God’s word? How do you encourage others in their life of faith?Read Matthew 23:1-12. Do your leaders live what they preach? If you are a leader, how do you strive to live the gospel?
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