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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 7, 2008

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 7, 2008 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2008
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 7, 2008

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
      Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
      devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
      Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Actors and masks

      Jesus said, "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
      hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom
      of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and
      when others are going in, you stop them."
      Matthew 23:13-14

      All of us have the potential to be a "Pharisee."
      John A. Sanford offers us brilliant insight in his
      book "The Kingdom Within: The Inner Meanings of
      Jesus' Sayings." "One reason that the requirements
      of the kingdom are both difficult and light is the
      necessity to shed the Pharisaic outer mask. The
      mask is the person we pretend to be, the false
      outer personality that we turn to the world, but
      that is contradicted from within. The mask is
      that which conceals our real thoughts and feelings,
      and which we come to use so habitually as a way to
      hide from others and ourselves that we become unaware
      that we have assumed it. . . . If we would belong to
      the kingdom, this false outer front must go. . . .
      This shedding of the mask is the primary point of
      Jesus' teachings against Pharisaism. Jesus is opposed
      to the Pharisees primarily because the Pharisees
      wear masks, they conceal themselves, and so mislead
      people because they themselves are false . . . the
      word hypocrite means an 'actor,' and actors in Jesus'
      time literally wore masks that depicted the roles
      they were playing." (Sanford, John A. "The Kingdom
      Within: The Inner Meaning of Jesus' Sayings," p. 70.)

      "Conscience is the voice of the soul," taught Jean-
      Jacques Rousseau. We would be wise to pray for a
      healthy conscience as we linger in this chapter
      with these brutally honest warnings from Jesus.
      You see, these are not simply addressed to the
      teachers of the law and Pharisees of Jesus' day.
      These lessons are timeless and appropriate for all
      people.

      Perhaps this is why we are cautioned to not be so
      eager to teach. James, believed to be a brother
      of Jesus reminds us, "We who teach will be judged
      with greater strictness. For all of us make many
      mistakes" (James 3:1-2 NIV).

      Have we somehow, somewhere, at sometime, prevented
      someone from experiencing the liberating and
      dignifying gospel of Jesus Christ? Have we let
      personal bias block a seeker of God by placing
      well intentioned but burdensome requirements on
      seekers?

      God, give me the courage to confront myself honestly
      and without self-deception in these verses. What is
      Jesus saying to me? Give me courage to change the
      things that I can. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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