Thought For the Day
Being the father of a four month old baby has given me a new perspective on the importance of washing one’s hands. Isaac, like most little babies, likes to chew on things, and one of his favorite things to chew on is fingers. It’s not just his own fingers that he finds irresistible, he is constantly reaching for the hands of whoever might be holding him at the moment - hoping to find a knuckle or two to chomp on.
These days, I find myself scrubbing my digits a lot more often than I did in my pre-father stage of life. I’m finding there are a lot of unwritten rules that require a higher level of diligence when it comes to keeping things clean and sanitized for the sake of a baby.
But of course, rules of cleanliness and hygiene aren’t new the 21st century. They have been around for a long while.
In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees and other teachers of Jewish law had strict practices about specifically how to wash one’s hands before eating. For them, cleanliness was a sign of holiness. It was an outward way to show how perfect one was in the ways of the law.
And so when the Pharisees caught Jesus’ disciples eating without washing their hands properly beforehand, they thought they had caught him in a moment of un-holiness. So they ask Jesus “Why do your disciples eat with defiled hands?” Jesus responded, “There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” He tells us that what makes a person unholy are the evil intentions that come from within – what makes a person unholy is sin.
The good news, is that through baptism, Christ dwells within us. Our sinful selves have been put to death! So my prayer for you this week, is that what pours out of you, and this congregation is the Word of God, and the Word of Life. Thanks be to God.