Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
In Arizona, it’s illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs. In New Hampshire, it’s against the law to collect seaweed at night. You don’t have to look hard to find all kinds of weird laws and traditions that might have made sense at one point, but have lost meaning over time.
In Mark 7, Jesus calls out the Pharisees for focusing on human traditions instead of following God with the heart. It is easy to confuse our human customs and traditions with the will of God when we keep doing the same things over the years. This was true for the Pharisees, and I believe this can be true for us as well.
People often ask me what’s different about Moravians, and I’ll admit it’s tempting to respond by talking about Moravian traditions. While I enjoy Moravian traditions, I have found that they can sometimes divide us instead of uniting us. Instead of responding to how Moravians are different, it might be better to respond with how Moravians are similar to Christians everywhere: We are followers of Jesus Christ.
Our traditions are in place to bring us closer to Christ, and it’s not our traditions, but Christ who defines who we are. Count Zinzendorf believed in a theology of the heart, where the heart is more than just a glass case of emotion, but rather the center of the person. To have Jesus in your heart is to have Christ at the center of who you are. Our Lord Jesus calls us to serve others.
This week I pray that we will find ways to serve others, not out of obligation or tradition, but that we would serve others with gladness because of the love of God that dwells in our hearts.
Adam Goodrich, associate pastor, Friedland Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina