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Rev. Peter Greiner

Sun 19 Sep

Woe is a challenging word to define. It will depend on the context in which it is used. We can say, “Woe is me” because something terrible is about to happen to us because of our personal actions. Or, it can be “Woe to you” because something is about to happen to someone else because of their actions. 

May be there have been times in our lives where we have had cause to say, “Woe is me.” It might be something as simple as a flat tyre and you are on your way to an important meeting and it means you will be late and in trouble. Or you have slept in and missed your morning train. Whatever the cause, we cry out, “Woe is me”. 

In Matthew 23 Jesus pronounces a series of woes on the Jewish leadership as a result of their hypocrisy. Each woe is different to the pre-ceeding ones. There is the woe pronounced on them for building ornate and decorative tombs for the prophets. It would appear they are honouring the prophets in their actions. However, upon closer examination of the Scriptures, they were not honouring the prophets at all. They wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the prophets. If they did then they would obey the words of the prophets. We would say not a lot has changed. People come to church pretending to worship God when deep in their hearts, they have no intention of honouring God. Where do we stand with such a woe? Are we honouring our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?