Today the Liturgical Churches that use the Common Lectionary are celebrating the Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost. The Gospel text is Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23.
For the last few weeks the textual spotlight has been on God. It let us see his grace poured out over us. I love those texts but today the spotlight shifts from God to man.; That is one horrible shift.
It is even worse because today the spotlight is on the active Christian. The one who works really hard at being good.
I want to scream Lord shift the light. Go look at the sinners of this world. Look at greedy politicians who lie, look at drug dealers, look at people who don’t go to church, look at the immoral fornicators all around us. Put the spotlight on their sins.
We are the good guys. We keep the rules. We work hard at being Christian. We are so much better than them. Go look at them.
Oh! And keep them out of our churches. We don’t need any more members who don’t try and seldom come.
We are the good guys.
You gotta love us.
But the spotlight doesn’t move and we see ourselves reflected in some other “ good guys” .
They kept the rules. They weren’t loving and they weren’t kind but they kept the rules.
They were the Pharisees and they kept rules you and I have never heard of.
They judged Jesus and his disciples and in today’s text found them guilty of breaking God’s law.
Hey! They had a point. They didn’t wash their hands before eating.
Well they didn’t. Blasted law breakers.
But Jesus says they and we are looking in the wrong place . It’s not the outside law keeping that everybody sees that shows who we are but what comes from our heart.
We don’t want to hear that Lord.
It makes us guilty.
It ruins our good guy image.
How can we be better if all the judging has to be left to You?
How will we know we are good?
But we aren’t good we are forgiven.
We aren’t better than others we have just felt the Father’s love.
Our task is not perfect law keeping but loving people as they are.
Letting God’s love shine through us.
When we fail and become today’s Pharisees we drive people away.
We hurt them. We reject them. They learn to hate the Church.
We are the bad guys.
But we can repent.
We are forgiven.
We can try again the route of the cross and love the unlovable or those we think are unlovable.
God picks us up. God renews us. God sends us out again.
We need that spotlight.