I am facilitating a group from our church in a study called Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. We are about 3 weeks away from finishing the workbook which takes about 13 weeks in total. I have probably engaged this study myself and with others possibly 14-15 times now over the last 25 years. It is an awesome study! One might even say—life-changing!
Everything up until this point has been about our individual walk with God, but recently we start on Unit 10, which is about the church—in essence a community of believers. And once again I am so profoundly struck by how far away we are from the prayer Jesus prayed—and I think is still praying—in John 17, that we would be one as He and the Father are one, because this, in fact, is our witness to the world that Jesus was sent by the Father.
Paying respect to the letter of the law, but ignoring the spirit.
What I see instead is our fleshly passions heating up over what and who we think is “right” and what and who we think is “wrong.” I grew up with an understanding of the right and wrong my parents taught me, along with a complete set of Encyclopedia Brittanica in their very impressive hardback bindings with a special bookshelf just for them. Everything was included in those books—or so it seemed. But a few years ago I sold them, because knowledge and information has changed so drastically over these last few years that much of what they had to offer seemed outdated. And so, too, our understanding of right and wrong. So small and so limited, so very flawed, much like the Pharisees. Paying respect to the letter of the law, but ignoring the spirit.