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."
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
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
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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