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Lectionary, Quotage

Not the form, the power.

When you walk away from God, bad things happen. Even the most religious find themselves corrupted. The example below is from a description of a book written by a professor from the Hebrew University, Shahak, who was a human rights activist speaking up for the Palestinians and, according to Ron Unz, fairly accurate in his predictions. Unz himself is a secular jew, and finds the religious rituals weird.

What I note in this is the emphasis on the form of worship, not the meaning. Paul would call this anathema. But then, the Jews ensured Paul was jailed, so he would be silenced.

Furthermore, religious Jews apparently pray to Satan almost as readily as they pray to God, and depending upon the various rabbinical schools, the particular rituals and sacrifices they practice may be aimed at enlisting the support of the one or the other. Once again, so long as the rituals are properly followed, the Satan-worshippers and the God-worshippers get along perfectly well and consider each other equally pious Jews, merely of a slightly different tradition. One point that Shahak repeatedly emphasizes is that in traditional Judaism the nature of the ritual itself is absolutely uppermost, while the interpretation of the ritual is rather secondary. So perhaps a Jew who washes his hands three times clockwise might be horrified by another who follows a counter-clockwise direction, but whether the hand-washing were meant to honor God or to honor Satan would be hardly be a matter of much consequence.

Such dogmas are certainly ironic given the widespread presence of Jews in the medical profession during recent centuries, but they came to the fore in Israel when a religiously-minded military doctor took them to heart and his position was supported by the country’s highest religious authorities.

And while religious Judaism has a decidedly negative view towards all non-Jews, Christianity in particular is regarded as a total abomination, which must be wiped from the face of the earth.
Ron Unz

It is not the form of the ritual, but the power of God, that matters. The emphasis on commentary and glosses on the text not the text itself obscures the spirit of God. For the word of God is living and active, not the commentaries on the word. And the rituals themselves cannot be done, for there is no temple, no high priest, and no means to gain atonement.

Even when there was, no man could be saved, for no man could keep the law.

But in Christ. May Israel come to its senses and be grafted in: but may our churches not fall into that error, of keeping the forms while denying Christ, as if God can be controlled by occult ritual.

Romans 11:13-24

13Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry 14in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! 16If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.

17But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, 18do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. 22Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

The issue is not what the Jews believe, for they are in error. Their rituals will lead them to a strong delusion, as surely as the Mohammedans or the Buddhists. For that which is not Christ will be accounted as trash on the last day. We must never forget that Paul was trained by the Rabbis of his day to be a Rabbi and zealot for the Jewish faith and temple religion when there was an active temple. His logic is the logic of that training, and here he gives us a warning.

Seek Christ. Remain in him. Seek to do his will. Do not be inventive with the faith.

Or we will share the fate of the Jews. Our church will become fake, and we will repeat fossilized liturgies without thinking of who or whom they refer.

Which will be then subverted has holy word meditation and mindfulness by the secular.

May this not happen. May the Spirit of God preserve us. For we are like the Jews: our broken nature will lead us into error.

But for Christ.

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