Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Some Pharisees and teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples were eating their food with hands that were ritually unclean—that is, they had not washed them in the way the Pharisees said people should.
(For the Pharisees, as well as the rest of the Jews, follow the teaching they received from their ancestors: they do not eat unless they wash their hands in the proper way; nor do they eat anything that comes from the market unless they wash it first. And they follow many other rules which they have received, such as the proper way to wash cups, pots, copper bowls, and beds.)
So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Jesus, “Why is it that your disciples do not follow the teaching handed down by our ancestors, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?”
Jesus answered them, “How right Isaiah was when he prophesied about you! You are hypocrites, just as he wrote:
‘These people, says God, honour me with their words,
but their heart is really far away from me.
It is no use for them to worship me,
because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!’
“You put aside God’s command and obey human teachings.”
Our world has become so fast paced, that too often the time for listening and pondering, before responding, is taken as a sign of weakness. How different is the Way of Jesus, who took time on the mountain in prayer; who willing spoke out about human rules that broke the honouring of each life; who reframed the significance of the two Great Commandments in the current context of society; who heard his offence and apologized to an outcast when she called for assistance of one of the ‘least of these my people’. In James 1:17-25, he calls the community to be ‘quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’. Anger is our human response. What we choose to do with that anger, shows our true belief in Jesus’ Way. Let us hear in our hearts the meaning of the situation, call on God’s Truth and Light, set aside our immediate human response, and reconsider how Jesus would listen, and what Jesus would do.
Draw close to us, Jesus,
For we have seen shadows of sorrowing this week.
Call to us your words of Truth
So that we hear you clearly.
Bind to our souls your loving ways
For with you, we find home, belonging, understanding
And a better way of living each day.
Draw close to us, Jesus, we pray
Prayer of Adoration and Thanksgiving
Praise we offer to you, O Light of life.
When there is misery and sadness, there are also hints of joy.
When there is darkness of misunderstanding and anger,
there is gentle welcome to hear again in our hearts.
When there are rules to be followed that fall short of your ways,
You speak into these spaces with sympathy
and your Spirit brings new understanding to our generation.
For we are a pilgrim people, who continually journey with you.
We thank you for your presence in all our meaning and being,
allowing our questions and hearing our conversation.
We, your people, look with hope and joy to your Way.
Thank you, Jesus, for walking with us, always.
© Rev Anne Hewitt 25/08/2021
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