1Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) 5So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ 8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
14Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
21“For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
- Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
- Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
- As you pay attention to the breath, consider the things in the world has ingested that defile God.
- What does humanity need to do to turn toward God?
- Return to the breath.
- Consider the things you have ingested which have defiled God.
- How might you turn back toward God?
- God is waiting for you with open arms.
- Let go of words and actions that defile God.
- Embrace words and actions that glorify God.
- Allow these glorious words to define you as a child of God.
- Allow God’s goodness and glory to arise from within you.
- Be forgiven in your repentance and go forth in peace to serve God and God’s people with love.
- Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
- Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, September 2, 2018, the Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2018 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD