Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Weekly Moravian Message: September 2, 2012

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Taking root

For some of us, the busy season of a summer garden is drawing to a close. The intense time of activity and hard work began in late spring when seeds were planted. Those seeds were planted in the hope—but with no guarantee—that they would take root and a bounty of delicious food would come from the gardener’s efforts.

The same might be said for those who introduced the three girls in the photo on the front of today’s bulletin to the Bible. What are those parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, or pastors hoping will happen in those young minds and hearts as those girls discover the words of Scripture for themselves? Those mentors are hoping for a fruitful outcome, but there is no guarantee.

The story in today’s Gospel lesson beginning with Mark 7:1 is a sad account of devout students of the Scriptures who are dedicated to the rituals and traditions of their faith but who have no interest or understanding of the spiritual fruit that really matters. As a result, they were fruitless. The seed never took root.

The story becomes not only sad but also tragic as it becomes clear that those students of the Bible were convinced that their rituals and traditions are all that interest God. They believed that they did all that God asked by giving close attention to these external practices, with no thought for the condition of their hearts. For them, if they followed their traditions, then it is no big deal if they gossip, harbor pride, envy another, or practice dishonesty or secret sins of immorality. The words they studied so carefully simply didn’t take root.

They wanted to learn the Scriptures, but they wanted to live only their traditions. The hard question we must face is this: Is this true with us today?

Tim Byerly, pastor, Mayodan Moravian Church, Mayodan, North Carolina


Moravian Daily Texts


Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Watchword for the Week — Trust in him at all times, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8

Sunday, January 21 — Jonah 3:1–5,10; Psalm 62:5–12
1 Corinthians 7:29–31; Mark 1:14–20

I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. Psalm 138:2

Jesus prays: “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:26

Blessed Redeemer, on this holy day may our worship of you spill out of the sanctuary and into every aspect of our lives. May all that we do give testimony to your unifying love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

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