Traditions are a fundamental part of our human experience. They ground us, they connect us to one another and they often bring meaning, peace and joy to our lives. But tradition, according to our scripture reading for this week, can also lead us down a slippery slope…especially in our lives of faith. Traditions can become more important, in and of themselves, than that which inspired them in the first place.
Our reading from Mark’s gospel takes us into the heart of a heated exchange between Jesus and some of the religious leaders. The religious leaders ask a question about Jesus’ disciples that is clearly more of an accusation than a genuine question. They want to know why Jesus’ disciples don’t all wash their hands according to the purity laws before eating. Jesus, drawing on the words of the prophet Isaiah, calls them out for honoring God “with their lips” while their hearts are far away.
This passage invites us to reflect on our own lives, to get clear about the ways that we might miss the mark of honoring the bigger things related to loving God and neighbor, focusing instead on the smaller things that are of little or no consequence. Join us today as we think about these issues around tradition and honoring God not only with our lips but also with our hearts and our whole lives.
Scripture passage: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
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