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21st Sunday after Pentecost


 

Sermon Excerpt:

Do As I Say and Not as I Do!
a sermon based on Matthew 23:1-12
by Rev. Elizabeth Ann Quick

I’ve not yet experienced what it is like to be a parent, but I can tell you, from a child’s perspective, that there’s not much greater joy than when you can catch your parent doing something they’ve been telling you not to do. All along, your parent tries to teach you something, like to always tell the truth, or to stay away from alcohol, or to always clean up messes, or to be a responsible driver. And then, you catch them in the act – of going 80 on the thruway (in this I speak from personal experience), or of telling a white lie. And you know, as a child, you’ve got them right where you want them – your parents aren’t even doing themselves what they’ve insisted you do! From a parents’ perspective of course, the situation is a nightmare, and the best a parent can usually come up with is to remind the child: Do as I say, and not as I do! After all, parents know better, and in their wisdom, may have some good reasons, though mysterious and unknown to children, for their behavior. In reality, though, parents hopefully more often choose to lead by example. The best way to teach someone and convince someone of what is right is by living these behaviors ourselves. In the church, we call this “practicing what we preach” and we call failure to practice what we teach hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is one of the topics Jesus frequently addressed in his teachings, and he was most likely to bring up the topic when he was talking to or about the religious leaders in the community – the Pharisees. The Pharisees were scholars of the law, or the commandments. They interpreted the commandments in the scriptures to see how they should be applied in everyday life...

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