Welcome back to We Wonder: Lent. Long ago, Jesus said to his friends, "Come: follow me." Now that we are at the end of the second week of Lent, we are following him into Mark chapter 7. There is a little pause in the action, and we get to see Jesus have a conversation with some people who are challenging him.
Our reading today is Mark chapter 7, verses 1 through 23.
Jesus was Jewish, and the Jewish law in Moses's books gave very important rules about keeping clean and staying away from foods and other things that were unclean. These were the things that people had to do to come close to the Holy God. I wonder why Jesus does not seem very worried about these ways?
Jesus notices that the Pharisees sometimes use religious rules to break God's ways. For instance, some people said "all of my money is actually set aside for God," even when their parents needed their help — even though God says to honor our parents! Those people felt like they were serving God, but they ignored the people God called them to help. I wonder if there are ways that people today use religious rules to serve ourselves and avoid doing what God actually wants us to do?
The Pharisees believed that if you washed your hands in the right away, and ate the right foods, then you would be able to come close to the Holy God. But what if the things that come out of us — the things in our deepest hearts — are what need to be washed? I wonder how we could ever come close to God with unwashed hearts?
Do you remember when Jesus was baptized? He went under the water, and when he came up a loud voice from heaven said, "You are my child, and I love you." Can I trust, right now, that everyone who trusts Jesus is also joined in his baptism, washed from the inside out, and is God's beloved child?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to ask God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments from this story that I want to take with me and hold close?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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