Sometimes it’s difficult to see the interconnections between the lessons for a particular Sunday; however, for this week, August 23, is like the conjunction of numerous freeways, giving us several directions to travel.
Introit: Psalm 26
Ephesians 5:22-33 (Should include verse 21)
Mark 7: 1-13
How dare we say as we do in the Introit, Entrance Psalm, “I have trusted without wavering when Psalm 14 tells us, “They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, no not one”?
Both Isaiah 29 and Jesus quote of Isaiah leads us to examine our motives for showing up in church. The Lord says, “This people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me…”
How dare I sing in the Introit, “I wash my hands in innocence and go round the altar,” when Isiah 29:15 accuses God’s people of hiding their thoughts and deeds from God, saying “Who sees us? Who sees us?…He did not make me…He (God) has no understanding”?
The Pharisees accused Jesus’ disciples of eating with unwashed, defiled hands. Who knows whom they may touched among the jostling unwashed crowds that surrounded Jesus?
Our hope is not in our unwavering trust, nor in our innocence, nor in successfully hiding our thoughts, words and deeds from our maker supposing we can keep God in the dark. Our hope is found in Jesus who is the only one whose hands are innocent and it was his innocent hands which were washed in his own blood on the cross which cleanses us and is our innocence. Thankfully, we are members of the Church for whom Christ gave up his life in order to sanctify the church, “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (baptism).” He presents the church to himself in splendor, like a bride, “without spot or wrinkle or any such things…” (Ephesians 5)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Lamb without stain, image of the Father’s glory: Give us strength to avoid sin and be faithful to you always. Lead us to the place where God dwells in his glory, that we may praise him with joy among his saints now and forever.