From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles
If the Council were to consider the chief matters that are contrary to God in the spiritual and worldly estates, they would have their hands so full that the child’s play and absurdity of long gowns, large tonsures, broad cinctures, bishops’ or cardinals’ hats or maces, and similar foolishness would soon be forgotten. If we would first act on God’s command and rule in the spiritual and secular estates, we would find time enough to reform food, clothing, tonsures, and surplices. But if we wish to swallow such camels and strain at gnats, allowing beams to stand in judgment of motes, we may as well be satisfied with the Council.
Pulling It Together: All those things that Luther denounced were outward displays. They ought to be fixed, but dealing with those outer matters neglects the more important things, the inner matters that end up improving the outer. It is that form of micromanagement that has others so busy fixing the myriad little things in their lives that they have no time or energy to see the large things that are wrong. Obsession with petty, outward pietism obscures the deep, spiritual matters that concern God.
Prayer: O Lord God, give me ears that hear your will, and a spirit that seeks to obey. Amen.
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