Proclaiming #5 – More Than Dill

by MW Cook

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.

The Pharisees were very good at what they did. Very careful. Very precise. So precise that they permanently traded their glasses for microscopes. They could see the fine, invisible details of a matter very well, but they couldn’t take a step back and see all the details together in a whole. So they made sure they gave the allotted percentage of the herbs they had in the kitchen. And they forgot about love.

We don’t tithe mint, dill and cumin. But I am pretty sure that we have equivalents. Here’s a list of things that have become the dill of the contemporary church:
– Fighting homosexuals in legislation
– Wearing headcoverings (or refusing to wear them)
– Eschatology
– Dress codes (or lack of dress codes)
– Putting tracts on restaurant tables and car windshields
– Precise greetings (God bless you / He is risen / etc)
– Supporting Republicans and Conservatives
– Boycotting media that famous Christians tell you to boycott
– Supporting political Israel

The Christian who does all these things is accounted a good Christian. But why? This isn’t the heart of Christianity. It isn’t anywhere near it. In fact, you could throw them all away and I doubt it would make a dent in your spiritual life. But they are the dill of the day. So if you throw them away your Christian friends will think less of you.

Do you know why Sodom was overthrown? The knee-jerk answer is, ‘They were gay!’ But Ezekiel says something different:

Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

Sodom was overthrown because they were rich, proud and didn’t help the poor. Were they steeped in homosexuality? Yes. But homosexuality was not the issue that incensed God. They were not kind. They did not help others. They had no love. So God removed them. Instead of picketing Pride Parades and protesting homosexual legislation, we should be emptying our pockets for the poor.

So we wrap ourselves up in dill and forget the weightier matters. We forget to radically love each other. We forget mercy and faithfulness. We microscopically pick out the bacteria in our cup while missing the fact that it isn’t tea, but chlorine.

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