Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
2 Chronicles 29:1-36
Hezekiah proclaimed that the destruction they had suffered was due to the misdeeds of their ancestors but now with the help of the Lord they could start over.
Church conflict is an old story. Paul says to the strong, "Get over yourself. Don't start a fight with those whose beliefs lead them to a stricter life style than the one you allow yourselves."
A problem I have with this teaching is that Paul characterizes the strict as weak. Do I agree with that?
In any case, I welcome his additional comment, "Don't pass judgment; that's God's job."
Paul was writing to a church that was made up of people from very different backgrounds, as had he been when writing to the Corinthians.
"Some of you are strong enough in your faith that the rules the others hold to seem petty to you." Once Paul had criticized Peter for siding with those who insisted on following rules. Now, Paul seems to be siding with them himself.
"If you love them, treat their needs seriously. After all, we are in this together. After all, we owe our allegiance to God." (I've been reading Garry Wills' What Paul Meant.)
Who can approach the holy? Still a question for modern worshipers.
The clean hands and pure hearts--are these absolute requirements of who can get in, or are they strong suggestions for how worshipers should order their lives, or they necessary in order for us to receive blessing--or to recognize what is a blessing?
The hearing ear and the seeing eye--
the Lord has made them both.
Prayer for Today: O Lord, help us now to welcome strangers and to tolerate friends when they are strange. Help us in all our deeds and thoughts to be faithful to you and to demonstrate that faithfulness in our words and deeds. Amen.