Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pentecost 12, Proper 16

Godly living comes from a believing heart. Some folks are obsessed with dirt. They are super – clean. We might call the “neat freaks”. They are ever dusting, cleaning, scrubbing, vacuuming. At the same time they can be dirty on the inside as their hearts are filled with dirty thoughts, motives, interests. This is the issue from this morning’s Gospel. The religious leaders of the day were might concerned with washing hands, pots and pans but neglected to wash their hearts. Jesus points out that dirtiness is not from without but from within the heart. A dirty heart causes a person to perform dirty acts which are listed in vv. 21-22.

Our text begs the question – which is worse dirty hands or dirty hearts?

Dirty hands – Vv. 1-8
A religion of man’s traditions – 8b

Traditions can change with time
They mask the real issues. Here religion was used to avoid the demands of religion. Building a religion of traditions and the use of traditions for traditions sake helps one escape the demands of a true religion. Jesus called this hypocrisy (vs.6) Tradition can become a substitute for real religion. Customs and ceremonies lose their significance and meaning. We do things without knowing why we do them. Traditions can become like barnacles that gradually grow on a ship and impede the progress of the boat. One issue of the Reformation of the 16th Century was the Bible vs. Tradition, the voice of God vs. the voice of the church. The Reformers repudiated those traditions that were contrary to the Word.

Dirty hearts – Vv. 14-15, 21-23
The heart is the source of behavior – vs. 21

Realize that Christ alone can make a good heart

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