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Zechariah 7-14

09.13.2010

 

Although this passage finishes up the book of Zechariah, I want to focus on the first seven verses.

The rebuilding of the temple raised some questions for the Jews.  They had been diligently adhering to mourning rituals in the wake of Jerusalem’s fall, and they wanted to know if they were supposed to be mourning any more.

God’s response, as we will see again and again with Jesus, is to answer a question with a question.  He asks them why they were mourning.  If they were mourning as a matter of mere routine, or to make themselves feel holy or better about themselves, then their mourning never mattered and might as well stop.  God makes it clear in here and in the rest of the chapter that He’s more interested in genuine service in His name and worship of Him than pious rituals of mourning and put-on holiness meant as a part of religion rather than as a part of faith.

As I’ve said before, I think ritual can be a beautiful way to engage the whole person in worship of God, a more comprehensive way of relating to Him than is common in the evangelical Protestant tradition.  Yet so many in my generation find ritual as stifling and unfulfilling.  As God makes clear, He does not value dead ritual.  So many of our mainline Protestant churches have retained ritual without doctrinal vigor, meaning that most of the churches we grew up in spoiled ritual for so many.  As people have migrated into more ‘alive’ churches, they’ve left the more traditional forms of worship behind, which I think is too bad.

I suppose I’m not going anywhere with this.  It’s just something I’ve been wrestling with lately and mulling over with some friends.  I, of course, appreciate any thoughts or reactions you might have.

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One Comment
  1. Jim permalink

    I believe that many who feign boredom with ritual simple are using that as an excuse to not have to learn and understand it, and to give them a reason to look elsewhere for their faith. A trait that has risen mostly in the post WWII generations because they are more concerned with themselves (person centric rather than God centric).
    Change is important but needs to be done with some grounding in your culture (read religion).

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