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.
Some of the most religious people of Jesus’s day misunderstood both his heart and yours. Please help me to avoid making the same mistake.
Help to put aside any religious traditions or views that stand in the way of your word. And help me to avoid any concept of faith that goes soft on my own sin. I want to live a truly holy life that consistently brings glory to you.
I also ask that you would help my faith to be strong.
When I feel like I am not the kind of person that should be praying help me to remember that you want everyone to pray. When I feel like you are ignoring my prayers, help me to be persistent. And when I feel like you will never answer my prayers, help me to be persistent again.
I understand that sometimes having great faith means being persistent in prayer.
And finally I thank you for your unending goodness and mercy toward me.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
I waver in the area of traditions, unsure whether I like them or not. My problem is that traditions and ruts are close relatives – the first being good, the second an evil twin – and I have trouble telling the difference. And once the purpose is lost the first can transmogrify into the other.
Our family has a very good Christmas Eve tradition. We spend Christmas Eve with the Barnabys – three generations of us and of them. We’ve done this now for several years and it’s a tradition we intend to continue. Family traditions are good when they bring families together.
What brought us together at first was the Polish emphasis on Christmas Eve and the Barnabys’ willingness to do something with us. Poland has serious traditions surrounding this particular evening. We’ve watered them down considerably, but enjoy what we do as we do it.
For example, an authentic Polish Christmas Eve meal must have twelve different items. We didn’t actually count and no doubt fell short, but since we were all ready to explode anyway, we didn’t care. My apologies to Polish purists, but we left out the carp completely, a Christmas Eve essential. No sense exploding over an overly bony fish that would be hard to find in Indianapolis anyway.
And we sang a few Christmas carols. And we enjoyed just being with the Barnabys. Family traditions are good when they bring families together.