Religion: Reflections on Matthew 23

I was raised in the Orthodox and Reformed traditions of Judaism.

My Father was an Orthodox Jew when I was born and changed to

Reformed Judaism when I was older.

I had my Bar Mitzvah ceremony at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue.

The Rabbi at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue placed more emphasis
on action in the World over ritual in the Temple.

More pointedly, he taught that mercy is the heart of the law and the soul of faith.

Judaism informs my faith as a Christian.

Jesus said that he was the light of the World, which suggests the
world he entered lived in spiritual darkness.

The light of the world is the light of mercy and justice.

Mercy requires us to use our minds to know our souls and to know the
sufferings of another.

If each of us truly felt the horror of waking up to your city in flames, we would have no deadly shock and awe campaigns.

God chose to live among the people who barely survived at the bottom
of a merciless class system.

Why?

That question is as profound as the mystery of faith.

I believe in an imperfect God in a perfect universe that is still evolving
to become more perfect.

People of faith know that dogma and rhetoric are meaningless
word games.

Winning a war of lies is not the same as acting on faith.

We cannot justify hunger and deprivation when we have plenty.

Faith is quiet.

Faith is humble.

Faith gives freely and expects nothing in return.

Faith heals.

Our wounded world needs Faith, not dogma.

Our wounded souls need compassion, not angry politics.

Our suffering children need food and shelter, not guns for racist
vigilantes and tax cuts for a corrupt élite.

Faith transcends all religions and all political dogma.

In faith, we are one people; this includes the atheist.

Faith does not need belief in a God.

Acting on faith is as simple as bringing a meal to a hungry child, to
nourish what is human in that child.

Faith does not need to control the minds and bodies of other people.

True faith sets everyone free.

***

 

Rob Goldstein 2018

First posted 2015

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