We are entering into the most significant holiday season of the Christian calendar. While many churches will put on services and events surrounding these holidays, many people will miss the key to all of them. Yes, many of the events and services we celebrate have been celebrated by Christians for centuries, but many have also lost their meaning and intention. In most cases this was not deliberate.
In the Bible a similar phenomena occured. The most religious people were, well, religious. They went way beyond even the required laws and rituals and added many of thier own so that they would not even get close to breaking any traditions/rules. If we were to see many of these guys, we might even call them fanatical -- they understood religion and followed it to a "t".
Yet when Jesus arrived on the scene (being obviously religious himself) He condemned many of the superstars of the religious scene. It wasn't because they were cheating on thier spouses or embezzling funds. It was because they missed the point. Outwardly, they were attending the services, following the rules and practiced more religion in a week than most of us will in a lifetime. Yet, Jesus came down hard on them.
The essential key for them and for us (especially at this time of year) is all about our heart. You see, while the religious people practiced religion, they missed the heart of God. They were condemning people and not helping them, yet were faithfully attending religious ceremonies. They were telling everyone else what to do, yet they had forgotten WHY they were doing it.
I believe the same danger is here today. We too can show up at religious services, follow traditions of our faith and even try real hard to live in a holy, honorable way. But if our heart is far from God, it really doesn't matter much. It simply becomes another activity we do. In order to truly be a follower of Jesus, one must surrender thier heart to Him.
Outward acts of religion, void of the heart is hypocritical, empty and ultimately unsatisfying. But, when one gets to truly "know" Jesus, love Him and live in the power of His Spirit -- everything changes. And these amazing traditions, services and holidays take on a whole new meaning, richness, depth and passion.
Join us as we teach through the life of Jesus and learning to live from the heart at Grace Church Roseville. We are a bunch of real people in process who are seeking God and the life He has created for us to live. Regular weekend services are Saturdays at 5pm and Sundays at 9 or 10:45am. All are welcome -- we are a non-denominational church at the corner of Hamline and B2.