Saturday, January 22, 2022

A Reflection by Rev Alistair McLeod for Sunday 15th August 2021

August 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Weekly Reflection

Scripture Reading:  St Matthew Chapter 15 verses 10 to 20 and 21 to 28.

In today’s Gospel reading Matthew speaks of two powerful episodes in the life of Jesus.  How do these verses along with the beginning of the chapter change our understanding about how Jesus might have to speak with the Pharisees and the Scribes?

The Pharisees were offended because the actions of Jesus and the disciples broke with the tradition of the Elders.

This tradition reflects Jewish concerns about purity and impurity and the preservations of the Law (Torah).

The Pharisees were not concerned with any virus or bacteria regarding the laws relating the clean hands before eating a meal.  This was quite simply about ritual. 

I have been kicking around for a while now and can remember aspects of the church and church life and practice which have completely changed with the years. For instance, how many of you like me (sometimes) although reading the hymn book in front of me still sing the words I had grown up with using ‘thees and thous’, or the Apostle’s Creed which is another good example of change. I can remember when I was a boy that Elders used to dress in formal clothes on Communion Sundays. So many changes.

Well considered change must be a good thing, especially if what needs to be changed is detracting from the real meaning of worship.  Some tradition is good of course but not when it amounts to the mantra “well, it’s aye been like that here” Why? Because there might just be a better way.  Certain things are necessary but imagine hand sanitizer being used here and everywhere not just because it does a good job, but it has become an ‘aye been’!

A Prayer for you.

Loving Father help us not to let ritual for the sake of ritual sake, determine our worship of you.  When we come to worship, may we come to see you, and know that we are in the presence of a loving Father on whom we can trust and depend. Help us always to look forward and try to find ways of helping others find that having you in their lives is a really worthwhile change for the better.


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