Thought for the Day: Jesus was on a roll, and he called out folks for what appeared to be bad behavior. He even called some of them, “snakes” and “vipers” (vs. 33). Yet I believe it is more than just bad behavior. It is one thing to ignore justice and mercy and faith, and something very different to make a big deal out of the small stuff as a distraction. Even before Jesus, people had been using the tactic of the smokescreen to keep others from seeing what was really happening. Individuals, groups, institutions and nations have learned this tactic, and some have harnessed its power in some pretty profound ways. Get folks focused on mint, dill and cummin as if it is the most important stuff of life, and then quietly go about the business of abusing and marginalizing the powerless. Some might raise a question, “But what about that person who is hungry or doesn’t have a home or was recently orphaned?” And the distractor will say, “Attention, please! Pay attention to the dill. It’s all about the dill.” I don’t want to sound too cynical, but unless you are making your living by selling herbs, it sure appears as if Jesus was not well pleased with the distractors and their capacity to divert attention away from “the weightier matters…” If someone has got you all riled up about something, pause long enough to ask yourself, “Just how important is this really? Does it have to do with weighty stuff like justice and mercy and faith?” If you realize it is something rather small, then ask the follow up question, “What am I not to see?”
Prayer: Beautiful and Magnificent God, your work is all about grace, forgiveness, justice and kindness. You seek to change lives, and to change them in dramatic fashion. Why is it that so many seem to have a problem with your ideals? What is it that is so important for them to stir up all kinds of energy around the irrelevant? There are real needs! There are people who are hurting and afraid! There is suffering and injustice all around us. Let us enjoy the dill in our dill pickles, but then move to the weightier matters. Amen.
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Rev. Bruce Frogge