Tuesday, April 24th. Mark 7:9-13

Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.’  Mark 7:9-13

Again today we see what happens when we hide behind the rules rather than living in the truth for which the rules were originally made.

Jesus points out how the Pharisees used one rule – setting aside their first fruits as an offering to God – over against another rule – supporting elderly or needy parents in an age before retirement plans, Social Security or Medicare.

Why would this happen?

When we ask a question like that, always remember to first look for the money.  Where does it go and what does it do?

Money is power and power is influence.  Assuming that the Pharisees really are giving of what they have been given to God (which, by the way, unless you are talking about a burnt offering – which sometimes becomes lunch – that means giving to something to a human being entrusted with godly responsibilities), part of what they are doing is “buying influence” within the religious community.  Even if that isn’t the intention, it is always a result.

On the other hand, providing support for aging parents provides no support to the provider.  Helping someone eat today is great but they will be hungry again tomorrow.  The only possible “influence” such provision would bring might be the respect from others who know what you are doing or a moral, internal, affirmation that you are doing the right thing.

Influence within human community (power) or following God’s command to love, respect, honor and support our parents (moral authority)?  The Pharisees are choosing the first.  Even worse, they are doing what elevates their religious authority even as they ignore God’s deeper commands.

What would a godly path look like?  Doing both while making whatever personal adjustments or sacrifices that would require.  And this is the other side of what we are looking at today – not only power versus moral authority, doing the effective thing over doing the right thing, but also selfishness versus selflessness.

Jesus sees all of this because his eyes are open to a different grounding of reality.  Not public affirmation or power but personal righteousness and surrendering to God’s power.

Jesus marches to a different drummer that leads to a new place where all of God’s children have enough, especially the powerless.  This is the dance he invites us to join.

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we often bend the rules of life to protect ourselves, to protect what we have, regardless of the cost to others.  And we often care much more about what the neighbors think than we do what you think.  Forgive us this selfishness and set us free to live in God’s will rather than our own.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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2 Responses to “Tuesday, April 24th. Mark 7:9-13”

  1. Pastor Jill/St. Mark Lutheran of Batesville IN Says:

    Pr Kerry,

    Constantly I observe people hiding behind rules and backstabbing their brothers and sisters ‘under the table’ rather than living openly in the truth for which the rules were made. This is especially true of those in faith communities who fear losing control (as if God is not in control anyway, eh?), desperately needing to pray and hone skills in order to become God’s faithful and Christ-centered disciples.

    Just discovering your site today, I have delighted reading the scripture, followed by your reflection and prayer, and then sharing a bit.

    The Lord be with you,

    Pr. Jill

  2. Mike Says:

    Amen to Pastor Jill’s comment! I see this too often. Thank you for your insight.

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