Get It Right Or Leave

The young man strode forward, purpose written on his clean-shaven face.
"Miss, you need to wear something more decent when you come to church," he scolded.

The teenage visitor blushed and glanced down at her mini skirt. Her friend gaped at the man and then scowled at the badge that hung from his neck: Greeter.

He gave a satisfied nod and then strode back to his post by the door.
God's work had been done.
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"I visited that church on the corner, and let me tell you..." Mrs. Do Right cocked a knowing brow at her three brunch companions. "Fellas wearing caps backward, kids eating in the sanctuary, girls in shorts...There were even MOTORCYCLES parked out front!" She shook her head in disbelief. "In MY day you acted your best when you went to church or people would talk about you."

Widow Smugly nodded in agreement. "I heard they even skipped church services last month when that tornado tore up Smallville. The leaders went over there to pass out water or some such nonsense. Can you believe that? No services on Sunday!

"Our dear Pastor Lawly would never allow such goings-on at our church. He respects the Lord's house. When they asked to borrow our baptistery, he was smart enough to tell them "no way!" He would rather use it for storage than let a part of God's house be used by such...such...ungodly people. They baptize in the lake. Can you believe it? The lake! How unspiritual!"

The four remaining members of the Ladies' Circle clucked at the foolishness of that disrespectful bunch on the corner and the holiness of Pastor Lawly, thankful they would never be caught transgressing the rules. No sir, you'd never catch them breaking tradition.
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If that sounds ridiculous, it shouldn't. In fact, it's the norm. And it's been going on since Jesus walked the earth. He was the One who started the trend that people like Mrs. Do Right will never understand.
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(Luke 13)
Jesus held up a hand and the crowd grew silent.

"Woman, come here."

Every head turned to watch the crippled woman as she shuffled toward the Teacher. Her back was bent in half. She had seen nothing but feet for 18 years.

His hands touched her back and his words echoed over the breathless throng. "Be freed from your sickness," He said.

She began to straighten, her eyes widening as they sought the face of the one who had spoken. His smile said it all.

Murmurs rippled through the crowd and a man shouted, "Glory to God!"

"Now just one moment!" came a strident voice from the back of the room. "What's going on here? This is the Sabbath! Who do you think you are, healing people on the Lord's day? What blasphemy! What an outrage!"

The synagogue official shoved through the crowd and came nose to nose with the One they called the Teacher. "There are six days when you can work, and this isn't one of them. If you're going to go around healing people, then do it on one of those days, NOT on the Sabbath!"
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When we read that story we rightly feel shock at the callousness of that official. But how many times are we guilty of the same thing?

We cling to our traditions, our denominations, our version of the "right way to do things." We easily take offense at others who hold to different traditions or none at all. We each believe to the core of our beings that we are RIGHT and others are wrong. WE hold the truth and our rules are there for good reason. Our convictions should be yours, regardless of your need or where you've come from. Either become like us or there's the door.

OF COURSE the choir must wear robes!
OF COURSE we sing all four verses of Peace Like A River every time after communion!
OF COURSE the children must sit in church after first grade. Who cares if they're learning anything. That's the way it's done.
OF COURSE the men wear suits and ties and the ladies wear long skirts to church. Go ahead and buck tradition, you'll get THE LOOK. You won't do it again--IF you come back.
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If Jesus came to your church, what traditions might he trample?
Would you be the one frowning?

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