See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental forces of this world rather than on Christ.
How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb?
Ten. One to change it and nine to lament how much they miss the old one.
Now, before my Episcopalian readers get miffed at this joke, please note that I attend the Episcopal Church for most of my adult life. I love the liturgy and cherish my Book of Common Prayer from which I take the daily readings I share with you.
But, let's face it. The Episcopal Church is traditional.
So much so that the revision of the hymnal in 1982 and the addition of Rite II to the 1928 BCP threatens unholy schism in the church. As a good-will compromise, my church, along with many others, offers both the old and new rites in different services, smoothing down those ruffled feathers.
When I return to church after a long hiatus, I closely observe the worship behaviors of the congregation. I don't want to stand out as a person out of the loop.
After all, my church upbringing is sketchy at best. I remember my mom feeling embarrassed to attend services because she only has one hat. In those days, women are required, by tradition, to cover their heads. Needless to say, we do not attend very often.
So, I watch. And, I learn.
When to sit. To kneel. To stand.
To genuflect. Cross myself.
Traditions . . .
Going through the motions. None of which guarantees a closer walk with the Lord.
For some, whose hearts are centered on Christ, a genuine expression of adoration and worship.
For others, nothing but a sanctimonious show. A routine practiced because we've always done it this way.
For me? I'm trying to fit my square peg in a round hole.
Again and again.
It isn't until I join the Methodist Church that I see how human-imposed practices of piety, while beautiful gestures, are not what Jesus wants from me.
He desires all of me. Heart. Mind. Soul. Strength.
Surrendered completely to His will.
He desires me . . .
Are there traditions practiced in your church that are of man's making, not God's?
Will you join me in prayer?
Help us, Father, to discern between human traditions and practices and true worship of You. Let us look to Your beloved Son, Jesus, to guide us and keep us focused on His commandments, His love, His sacrifice, above all else. Help us to grow in love and grace through Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Psalms 105:1-22 or 105:23-45