“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites, because they love standing in the synagogues and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full”- Jesus, in Matthew 6:5.
Friend Darren Sutton has something to say about the annual See You At The Pole event (you should read the whole thing, here).
“Anyone can show up 30 minutes early, once a year, for doughnuts and a show.”
This brings me to the words of Jesus from Matthew 6 (above) and to my morning reading from 2 Corinthians 13:3-13 and Luke 5:33-39. In the former, Paul seems to say that there is a way to seem approved, but not be approved. The proof of this approval comes when we test ourselves (v. 5) and see if we are “weak in Him (Christ) from verse 4. Later, in verse 11, Paul tells the reader and us, in part, that we are to “be perfected.” In the Luke text, we find Jesus and his disciples appearing dis-approved because they did not “fast often and make petitions” like the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees. Jesus responds, brutally. ” “There is no need to fast or pray when the One Who Those Things Are About is with them.” He finishes out this text be talking about new wine in old wineskins, meaning that the old ways of doing things are no longer valid.
See You At The Pulpit
I believe that there are many within the church today that treat their Sunday worship experience like it’s a giant See You At The Pulpit rally. We show up at an appointed time, have a wafer and grape juice, shake hands and high-five with our friends, sing a song, here a brief call to live out our faith, pray and then are released. Anyone can show up for an hour on Sunday, participate in the above, and not have it make one iota of difference to the other 167 hours of the week.
Old and New Patches
Sunday worship is not a patch. When we approach it this way, God’s not honored because God is not a supplement to our lives. He is our life. It’s what Paul was talking about using the words “weak” and “strength” in the 2 Corinthians text and it’s what Jesus means when the new wine (Jesus) is poured into old wineskins (us). Our weakness is revealed (wineskins bursting) and His strength magnified (patch tearing off the new garment).
A faith in Christ lived out only around a flagpole once a year or in a building once per week is not a faith in Christ worth modeling. It looks good, but Jesus calls it hypocritical. The reward for it is the applause of men. And, it’s already been received in full.