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MK 7: 1-8 & 14-23
12th Sunday after Pentecost

Back to MK & more straight forward thought patterns than JN (Jesus'? John's? John's followers?) as simple souls such as I see things.

It's pretty clear 9-13 are omitted because the example is abstruse. But the issue they raise of over- riding God's will with our own human tradition is still spot on. Right up there with 1-8. And deserves equal top billing from the preacher rather than elimination from the lectionary! In my experience of church, being ruled by tradition is one of the 'hard matters' of last week's JN passage. Dare to deal with it. Go on! We could introduce it singing / playing Tevye's 'Tradition' (Fiddler on the Roof)!?

I don't know where the expression 'cleanliness is next to godliness' comes from, but some significant godliness I've experienced out in life's margins has been in the person of people none too clean in soap & water terms. 'The Great Unwashed'! Not the kind of person we want sitting near us in the pews! But maybe just the one to rescue us in some hour of need out there somewhere. I doubt any of us would want Jesus on his way to Golgotha reeking of his own sweat & blood, or hanging up there on the cross without deoderant, aftershave, or even fly-spray, too close to us either. Come to think of it, I don't recall any of the many art treasures I've viewed depicting it as it really must have been, either! Symbolic of the way we sanitise the Gospel as a whole, too?

People who insist on the influence of an exterior devil /demons might like to ponder what Jesus says here about things arising within, 'from the human heart', that defile. Blaming an external devil for the evil that corrupts our own heart is as old as that vitally important creation myth set in the Garden of Eden & about as convincing as Adam's & Eve's passing the buck back then! A key thrust of Gospel is surely accepting responsibility for our own life even as we paradoxically hand it over to God in Christ.