November 3, 2009

Mark 12:38-40 or Why I am a Low Churchman

Jesus seems to be pretty clear about his expectations for religious leaders. Or at least he is clear in what he thinks they should not do. They should not be prideful. They should not wear garments so as to set themselves apart. They should not expect to be greeted with praise and honor on the streets and in the marketplace. And at parties, they should be in the back, allowing guests of higher honor to have the best seats.

As I've said before, I consider myself a soft literalist when it comes to the Bible. Do I think the earth was created in seven literal days? No. Do I believe that God provided enough for Elijah, the widow, and her son? Yep. Do I think that Jesus said what the Gospels tell us he said? You betcha.

And so, if I believe that Jesus said these things, I think that I should probably take them to heart. I wear a long white robe on Sunday mornings because it is the cultural expectation of our community. I wear a collar from time to time, not to be greeted with honor, but sometimes to grease the wheels of the medical establishment, and sometime to offer comfort those who will be in my presence. On Friday I will sit at a head table by invitation, not by assumption.

But for the most part, I try to avoid these things. Because, for me and my personality, to get caught up in the robes and collars and honor and praise would cause me to stumble, and, quite probably, devouring widows houses with my need for more. The materialist game is an easy trap for me, so I do my best, even in the Church, to avoid it at all costs.

Mark 12:38-40 is why I am a low churchman. Any high church priests out there with a counter theology?

1 comment:

Sarah Beth ♥ said...

Hi Steve.....you make a good point for " low Church" & I respect that. But as a former Presbyterian, I must admit that I am more drawn to the " High-Church" style. God wants our best, & I see the robes & vestments that many priests wear when they lead worship not as symbols of materialism, but rather as symbols that the acts of worship are to give glory to God. I sing in my parish choir & I love the vestements we wear, it sets us apart, for that time & in that role, as leading the people in prayer through song.

Keep the blogs coming.