Lectionary-- Ordinary Sunday 22 (Pentecost +12) Year B

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Song of Solomon 2:8-13 A love song
Psalm 45:1-2,6-9 Love of the king
James 1:17-27 Be doers of the word, not merely hearers
Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23 Human tradition and God's commandment

Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)
Hymns for Sunday 22, Yr.B
lesson hymn TIS AHB SA
G A mighty fortress is our God 103 8
E Almighty God lift up our eyes 615 549
G As a chalice, cast of gold 476
O/Ps As man and woman we were made 645 7
O As the deer pants for the water 703
G Blest are the pure in heart 448 376
E Father we give you thanks who planted 495 416
E/G Fold to your heart your sister and your brother 587 503
G For the beauty of the earth 137 77
E Help us O Lord to learn 428 340
E Holy Spirit go before us 420
Ps How brightly beams the Morning Star 220
O Joyful joyful we adore you 152
G Just as I am without one plea 584 497
G King of glory, King of peace 201 129
Ps Lord Jesus our bright Morning Star 199
Ps My heart is full of Christ and longs 214 143
E O brother man fold to thy heart thy brother 587 503
G O for a heart to praise my God 568 476
O O Love that wilt not let me go 602 525
E Sent forth by God's blessing 531 76
E Strengthen for service, Lord, the hands 496 417
E Take my life and let it be 599 520
E The law of Christ alone can make us free 630 554
G We limit not the truth of God 453 335
O When love is found and hope comes home 654
E Where there is charity and love 434 c591
O/Ps Your love O God, has called us here 664

Other Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia.)
SA 76 TIS 513 Sent forth by God's blessing, our true faith confessing

146 (TIS 563) Let him to whom we now belong
455 (TIS 547) Be thou my vision
456 (TIS 549) God be in my head

Sermon summary (Click here for complete sermon)
[For an alternative sermon on the reading for this Sunday from the Song of Solomon, see Arise, my love, my fair one.]

Tradition, good and not so good

Do you like things that are "traditional" or prefer what is "modern", or do you enjoy both? Have terms like "conservative" and "liberal" have lost much of their meaning? They certainly have different meanings in different situations. You can be both attacked and defended for trying to keep a tradition. What should be a Christian's attitude to tradition?

When Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of failing to follow the "tradition of the elders" (Mark 7:3), he counter attacked saying to them, (Mark 7:8) "You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition." He then went on to contrast their care in a small thing with the ease with which they arranged to break the commandments (Mark 7: 9-12). They made the scriptures subject to their teachings, (Mark 7:13).

There are many traditions in Western society today (and in the East, but with different emphases). We have a strong tradition of individual liberty which can be opposed to the acceptance of discipline in personal matters, thus making some words of scripture difficult. We also have a tradition of rule by law, which in contrast sometimes makes it difficult to allow sufficient freedom to another to accord with the requirements of love. Both these tendencies are human traditions, which might or might not agree with scripture.

Many of the controversies the early Christians faced came out of concern with the question of whether the Gentile Christians should follow Jewish practices. (See last week's Food for eternal life re: the concern with Jewish law among Gentile Christians.) So Mark later in this Chapter interprets the teaching of Jesus to address that question (Mark 7:18-19).

Paul at times made a distinction between what he thought and what he had received as the commands of the Lord in important pastoral matters like marriage, divorce and the status of women (1 Corinthians 7:39-40; 1 Corinthians 7:10-12). We even have some cases where nothing more than custom is advanced as a reason for certain things to be done in the Christian community. (For example 1 Corinthians 11:13-16) There was a custom of wearing hats. There is a more important piece about the role of women, which has raised major questions in recent times concerning leadership in the church. (1 Corinthians 14:33-35) Here Paul again appeals to custom, As in all the churches of the saints. It seems to me that Paul put his advice in terms of a culture not yet transformed by the gospel when he wrote about women being subject to men (1 Corinthians 11:3). It is at points like this that there is a danger that a liberal interpretation of scripture can substitute a recent preferred tradition for the word of the God, so we need to be careful. We do, however, have a lead from Paul himself in this particular case, for he had written in the previous verse (1 Corinthians 11:2) that they were maintaining traditions.

So here was a tradition handed on by Paul. Was it human tradition, the custom of that group of people, or was it more, the apostolic tradition witnessing to Christ as at other points in the same letter. We know that there was a tradition of the utmost importance in some things that he had handed on. (For example: 1 Corinthians 15:3 concerning salvation; and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 on the Lord's Supper). How do you know which is which, which is human tradition of limited value like the tradition of the Jewish teachers which Jesus questioned, and which is the great tradition through which the apostles made known the word of God in Christ? In the example from Mark 7, Jesus made it was a matter of the heart in which his commands prevailed (Mark 7:18-23; cf. Matthew 5:8). There are human traditions which might be good, bad or indifferent, but what matters is the tradition of the gospel that points us to Christ, and his love which inspires such love and thankfulness in human hearts that we can love and serve God.

Order of Service - Ordinary 22 Year B - | DB Home | RCL Resources Index | Questions and Comments | The Gathering of the People of God

Let us worship God, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.
All honour and glory, praise and thanksgiving, we offer to you almighty and loving God.

HYMN For the beauty of the earth TIS 137 AHB 77
CONFESSION [In three parts, concluding ...] Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Hear then Christ's word of grace to us: Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

DOXOLOGY: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME: Love and tradition
OLD TESTAMENT Song of Solomon 2:8-13 A love song
PSALM 45:1-2,6-9 Love of the king
EPISTLE James 1:17-27 Be doers of the word, not merely hearers
GOSPEL Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23 Human tradition and God's commandment
HYMN My heart is full of Christ and longs TIS 214; AHB 143



The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper

HYMN Let him to whom we now belong  TIS  563; AHB146

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Thanks and praise ..... in the eternal hymn: [SA 100c and 100d]
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
We thank you ....

THE LORD'S PRAYER [Front of hymn book]
THE LAMB OF GOD [Sing Alleluia 100e]

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN Sent forth by God's blessing, our true faith confessing  TIS 531; SA 76
DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:

In the name of Christ. Amen.

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