We need rules. Rules help us get through life, conduct business, and get around on the streets (less true on Boston roads). Rules restrain us but also create safety that allow for freedom. Some people like rules more than others, and some would say my firstborn status makes me like rules more than the next in line. The theory is that being the first, parents tend to obsess with doing things by the book, and living by lots of rules early in life may make firstborns a little more of sticklers for following the rules. I probably do fit that stereotype some, though my second born sister was far more obedient than I. One time at my job I was referred to as “very structured” in not a complementary way.
My wife would say I’m picky, I’d say I’m discerning. This week while eating ice cream at J.P. Licks with my community group we discussed two rules I hold and wish everyone else would. The first is ice cream is ice cream, and frozen custard and yogurt shouldn’t be referred to as such. If you enjoy all of it great but call it what it is. Food labeling is important and the second one is similar: Chunks or strips of chicken breast meat are not wings. There is no such thing as “boneless wings” no matter how you prepare them, and it drives me nuts as a wing guy, and Western New Yorker (Yes, Buffalo really did invent “Buffalo Wings.”). If you like breaded tenders with a dipping sauce great, I may even enjoy them on occasion, but they are NOT wings, they aren’t even wing meat. I know these are kind of silly to you, but what are some rules like these that you have? I bet you have a few?
Tomorrow morning I look forward to worshipping with all of you as we continue in the book of Mark. In this weeks passage, Mark 7:1-13 we’ll see what happens when we make following rules the focus of worship. What happens when we add or take away from God’s commands and replace them our own rules? What does Jesus have to say about it? Most of us today would say that’s wrong, but does this sort of legalism still slip into our lives today?
We know it’s going to be really hot tomorrow. There’s only so much we can do with it, but we’ve made plans to shorten the service to an hour, and we’ll be ready with some cold water. This way we can get the spiritual refresh we need together just as our bodies find refreshment in a cool drink. Give yourself a little extra time to arrive. Slowing down will help, drink water first thing in the morning to get a headstart on hydration and if the heat index carries an added risk for any medical conditions, please stay in and let us know if you are in need.