Church of England Diocese of Norwich Ringland

Thought for the week of 29th August 2021

28 Aug 2021, 5:26 p.m.

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’ For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come.   Mark 7 : 14 – 15; 21

Bible reading : Mark 7 : 1 - 23

Thought for the week

Do you remember early on in the Pandemic we were told to wash our hands for twenty seconds – regularly? Creative ideas included saying Happy Birthday three times, or the suggestion to say the Lord’s Prayer.

It soon became clear hand washing was helpful, along with the other guidelines, which were encapsulated by the slogan ‘Hands – Face – Space’.

Yet what was not so clear is that it was not just about us. The restrictions were also to protect other people. If anything the Pandemic reminded us how closely our lives are interwoven. How we are actually responsible for one another. How our attitudes and views of other people matter.

In our Gospel reading Jesus criticises the Pharisees and others for their slavish adherence to hand – washing rules without examining their hearts and behaviour towards others.

Jesus reminds us how our thoughts and feelings matter. How cleansing and purity begins with us, deep within. This is the work of God within us through the Holy Spirit. Belonging to Jesus means challenge and change, and in His love for us Jesus begins with us!

Rev Paul

Prayer

Gracious God,

we are a people formed by your Word in Christ;

but we have wandered away from your truth,

we have broken your commandments,

we have distorted your teachings to serve our own ends,

we have failed to trust your promises,

we have refused your mercy.

Ground us again, O Holy One,

in the written wisdom of Scripture

and in the living Word which is Christ Jesus.

Nourish us on the bread of his teachings

until we can taste your goodness.

Renew us at the fountain of his wisdom,

so we may find joy in obedience

and freedom in giving ourselves to you.

Amen.

~ written by Anne Osdieck, and posted on Saint Louis University’s The Center for Liturgy web site. http://liturgy.slu.edu/