I’m always intrigued when I’m reminded of some of the background stories (context) behind the actual words of the Bible. John’s famous line “God is love” was born of out of a messy leadership conflict (1 John 4:8). Paul’s unifying dictum “you are all one in Christ” addressed social and racial tensions (Gal. 3:28).
When the prayers of the people begin, the Stephens' pew in the back starts to thump. Ten-year-old Mallory is working her way toward the door. As I hand the offering baskets to the ushers, she returns with a large cooler.
It’s become a historical cliché that without the printing press, the Protestant Reformation would likely not have gotten off the ground. It’s not that the printing press caused the Reformation. Rather, the printing press not only allowed for the spread of Protestant ideas, but also allowed for a shift in power, from entrenched Church leadership to the layperson.
Matthew invites us into a whole variety of experiences this Sunday. Verses 10 through 20, considered optional, center around a conflict about tradition and authority followed by a parable about the truth of the actions of the heart. This is followed by healings and feedings. The next chapter begins with more conflict.