Sunday

“There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” (v. 15)

Mark 7:1-23 Sunday 29 August 2021

Psalm 15

Background

The Pharisees asked Jesus why his disciples had not observed the tradition of washing their hands before eating. This exchange reminds me of an altercation I witnessed recently between an officious volunteer in a charity shop and a customer who had forgotten to sanitise his hands at the door. Covid protocol and religious and cultural traditions are important, but Jesus is keen to point out that there are greater dangers than unclean hands. What comes out of our hearts can cause far more harm than what goes into our bodies. The pandemic has taught us that both our breath and our touch can infect others. This might help us to remember that both our words and our actions can have a serious impact on others.

This is the time in the Methodist year when circuits are welcoming new ministers. Just as the Pharisees noticed that Jesus’ disciples were doing things differently, so both circuits and ministers will notice differences in one another.  Some might say: “Our previous minister didn’t do that!” And a minister might think: “The practices I grew to know and love in the circuit I have come from are non-existent here!”

Asking ‘why?’ questions of one another – in a curious rather than an aggressive manner – may be an important way to get to know one another and begin to share in mission and ministry together.

Tradition is one of the four elements of the Wesleyan quadrilateral – the others being Scripture, reason and experience. Tradition literally means to give across – to hand over. The theme for this week is 'Crossing Jordan'. As we cross over into a new Methodist year, what traditions will travel with us? What will we leave behind?

To Ponder:

  • What traditions do you most value in your family… your culture … your church…?
  • When have you noticed someone doing something differently? How did you respond?

Prayer

We pray for all involved in Circuit Welcome Services this week.    

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