Chapter & verse: Luke 5:33-39
Jesus wants to stretch us, says William Young
The Pharisees are (yet again) upset by Jesus and his disciples – this time, because of their lack of reverence for tradition. The Pharisees know that Jesus and John the Baptist are related, and controversial. Yet John’s disciples fast and pray – they observe some form of tradition – and Jesus’ disciples seem to spend their time looking for parties, hanging out with the ‘wrong’ people. Jesus’ disciples were just too cheerful!
During the US civil rights struggle, demonstrations were accompanied by concerts given by great musicians of the era in support of the movement. At some of the first racially integrated concerts in the American south, performances of soul and jazz music, along with gospel music, provided the soundtrack for social change. The seriousness of the cause was often supplemented with joyful music, injecting joy into the struggle.
The Pharisees have a problem with joy. Jesus has a problem with their insistence on tradition as the base currency of spirituality.
Jesus is not against tradition. But he understood that some things were more precious than holding on to the old way…
William Young is Minister of Essenside United Reformed Church in Glasgow, and Morison Memorial URC in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire
This is an extract from an article that was published in the March 2019 edition of Reform