Jesus will address issues of tradition and ceremonial uncleanness, which were very important to Jewish life. He will also go out to Gentile areas and begin a ministry to people there.
Dear heavenly Father,
You are an all-powerful, all-loving, unchanging God. We, however, need to change because without change we will never experience growth.
Help us to see where we have fallen into spiritual ruts. Help us not to get stuck in the patterns of religiosity, in human traditions. Instead, let us learn to draw near to you in all reality, sincerity and truth.
Jesus has taught us by both word and example that our lives need to be grounded in the Scriptures.
Prevent us from either adding or taking away from your word, but rather establish us firmly in it.
And from that foundation, bring us to the place where our faith truly grows.
First put this put this up about 4 years ago, and got to thinking about it again. The key point is the title has to do with “decline and fall. Not hoping for that by any means, just noticing a similarity.”
I recently stumbled upon this and thought it sounded a lot like the USA. It’s from Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, ch. II:
“The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.” (Emphasis added.)
In the yet-to-be-written The History of the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, vol. I, ch. II, it will state:
“The average American was vaguely religious believing that it didn’t matter what one believed as long as one was sincere. The devotee of science was convinced that all religion would become unnecessary if only people knew better. Most politicians identified themselves as, ‘Christians who support Israel’ (but didn’t always give convincing evidence of either), and knew that Islam was undeniably a ‘religion of peace’ (while uncertain that religious knowledge even existed). These points of view (though on the face of it contradictory) actually harmonized well enough in the public mind that the most of the diverse population managed to somehow get along with itself.”