Thursday, August 29, 2013

tradition and change

Good morning friends,
In our reading for today Paul finally makes it to Jerusalem. When he meets with James and the other leaders of the church there they discuss the rumor among Jewish Christians that Paul rejects the law. Paul does often talk about how the law isn't the source of salvation, but he doesn't reject the law for Jews, only for gentile Christians. So the leaders plan to have Paul publicly observe a Jewish vow of piety to show that he hasn't turned away from the law. We'll see how the plan plays out.

In the church today we have some similar challenges. We need to be open to change to engage the world in new ways. At the same time we need to respect the traditions of the church and those who have been faithful to God through the church in the past.

God bless,

Acts 21:17-26
17 When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us warmly. 18The next day Paul went with us to visit James; and all the elders were present. 19After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20When they heard it, they praised God.

Then they said to him, ‘You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealous for the law. 21They have been told about you that you teach all the Jews living among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. 22What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come.

23So do what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow. 24Join these men, go through the rite of purification with them, and pay for the shaving of their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself observe and guard the law. 25But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent a letter with our judgement that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.’

26Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having purified himself, he entered the temple with them, making public the completion of the days of purification when the sacrifice would be made for each of them.

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