getting out the Word

the 14th sunday after pentecost

the PRAYER …

O God our strength, without you we are weak and wayward creatures. Protect us from all dangers that attack us from the outside, and cleanse us from all evil that arises from within ourselves, that we may be preserved through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING …

[Jesus] said to [the Pharisees and some of the scribes from Jerusalem], “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me ….” mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

the DEVOTION …

The Pharisees and some of the scribes come down from Jerusalem. They gather around Jesus, criticizing some of Jesus’ disciples for eating without washing their hands. Jesus responds with a passage from Isaiah. “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” And we Christians sit back – watching, listening – and, probably, smirking a little, as well.

We “true” believers tend to ride the coattails and rest on the laurels of the hundred generations that came before us. So, when Jesus points a finger, more often than not, we figure he doesn’t mean us. Problem is, Isaiah – the prophet whose words Jesus speaks – didn’t just accuse a group or two within Israel. He was indicting everyone. And if we’re honest, we’d admit we do the same thing. Talk is cheap. And empty words always come easier than heartfelt ones! So, instead of a smirk, maybe we need to be a little more humble and whisper those all-too-familiar words, instead … “Forgive us, renew us, lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways … to the glory of your holy name.”

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