When I was pretty young, there were a few occasions when I spent the night at my grandparent’s house. My grandmother would pick me up from my home and take me to their apartment. The very first thing that she would do was say that I needed to get cleaned up because my grandfather would be home soon. That meant that I would have to take a bath and she would scrub me like it was the very first bath of my lifetime. I could tell by the way that she was bathing me that she was mad at me or mad at something about me.
After the bath she would check through the clothes I brought along to see the condition or size I suppose. My grandfather would get home and not long after that, it was time for bed. It was always excruciating for me because it was always so early to go to bed. While my grandfather slept in the other room, I slept in my grandmother’s room and she snored up a storm. Her snoring scared me and the uncertainty of my surroundings was unsettling. I usually cried myself to sleep.
In the morning we would have breakfast with my grandfather and then my grandmother would take me shopping. She usually bought me a couple of outfits for school, a pair of shoes and maybe some underwear. I think the reason I must have been staying at her house was focused on shopping for school clothes.
After shopping in the morning we would join my grandfather for lunch. The afternoon was filled with mostly errands and preparation for dinner. When my grandfather arrived home from work, my grandmother would have me give a little style show for my grandfather. My grandmother would say that I could keep the clothes if my grandfather approved of them. My grandmother was the one who would make the decisions so even though she asked my grandfather for his decision, she was the one deciding. I was always so happy to go home.
I stopped going to visit my grandparents because I didn’t like the feeling of not being good enough or clean enough for them.
7:1 The Pharisees, along with some religion scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around him. 2 They noticed that some of his disciples weren’t being careful with ritual washings before meals. 3 The Pharisees—Jews in general, in fact—would never eat a meal without going through the motions of a ritual hand-washing, 4 with an especially vigorous scrubbing if they had just come from the market (to say nothing of the scourings they’d give jugs and pots and pans).
5 The Pharisees and religion scholars asked, “Why do your disciples flout the rules, showing up at meals without washing their hands?”
6 Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact: These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. 7 They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy, 8 Ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.”
9 He went on, “Well, good for you. You get rid of God’s command so you won’t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions!
10 Moses said, “Respect your father and mother,” and, “Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.” 11 But you weasel out of that by saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to say to father or mother, Gift! What I owed you I’ve given as a gift to God, 12 thus relieving yourselves of obligation to father or mother. 13 You scratch out God’s Word and scrawl a whim in its place. You do a lot of things like this.”
14 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Listen now, all of you—take this to heart. 15 It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it’s what you vomit—that’s the real pollution.”
17 When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, “We don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
18 Jesus said, “Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you see that what you swallow can’t contaminate you? 19 It doesn’t enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed.” (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.) 20 He went on: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes:
21 obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—23 all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”
The Jews had a special way to wash their hands before a meal. The hand washing was a ceremony that had nothing to do with removing dirt. It made sure that they had separated themselves from anything unclean. Certain foods were unclean and they believed Gentiles were unclean. Jesus wanted the people to realize that the Pharisees’ idea of unclean was wrong. The Pharisees thought that in order to be holy they must obey special rules about washing. That was wrong. God wanted people to have good thoughts and to obey his laws.
When have you most been in the presence of someone who was unclean inside? What were some ways that made you aware of the person’s uncleanliness of heart? Did you find that you wanted to be around the person or get away from them? When have you felt like just being around an unclean person was somehow going to make you unclean? What are some of the family rules you have had about cleanliness? Have a day!
In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you what a person needs to get clean
Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson
Remember in Prayer: Phyllis & family, Natalie, Mary, Vivian, Charleston community, Martha, Pastor Kamya, Bonnie & Courtney, Mark, Michael, Kelly, Sawyer, People of Nepal, Patrick, Roger, Sue, Katie, Marnie, Missy, Jeremy, Ginger, Jean, Frank, and for all those in need of God’s healing.
Prayer Request: Asking prayers for Phyllis and her family on the loss of Ward, who was one of the bedrock members of our church and a wonderful friend to many. Thanks, Barb
And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe, Dot, Judy, John, Roberto, Todd, Loisanne, Karen, Bill, Dee, Cindy, David
Prayer: As we begin this day, we begin with you, O God. We give you thanks for the hope of these days that are feeling less like winter and more like spring. Examine our hearts and help us come clean with you. Amen
Your E-Votional Servant
© 2015 Lucia Oerter
All rights reserved
The Message Bible – contemporary translation
A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX, providing for your daily walk with Christ!