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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

The Things that Belong unto Thy Peace

While preparing and preaching the St. Luke 19 Gospel about Jesus' weeping over Jerusalem, I also happened, coincidentally, to have been reading through Jeremiah and Lamentations. When you get your fill of lachrymose prophecies in one week, it's kind of hard to escape the fact that divine sorrow (and anger) erupt not so much over those who have no religion as over those who do.

Jerusalem, the object of weeping in both Jeremiah's and Jesus' case, was for all intents and purposes the capital of religious life. "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord," was the refrain to which the prophet referred, and when our Lord dropped in on the holy place, he didn't find it empty. It was full of bustling commerce.

Religious life means nothing to God if it is not centered in the true religion, notwithstanding the fervor of those religious convictions. It was, after all, out of ostensibly religious convictions that the Jews insisted that Jesus be crucified.

And here we are a religious nation, and a people whom Gallup would tell us are among the more religious people on earth.

Well, so what? Jesus wept over the religion he saw, and soon his sadness turned to anger, when he lost his temper in the temple.

Isn't it all rather chilling?

It seems to me that sincerity and fervency mean little to him, if their object is not the things which belong unto our peace. Those are the things, we are reminded by the same evangelist, of which the angels sang in Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus.

Hence it behooves us not to be swayed by sincerity or fervency, but only by the truth of the Gospel.

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