Is it time for getting our hands dirty?



So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” (Mark 7)


The disciples were following a Nazarene rebel – and Jesus was breaking all the rules. Not only was he making everyone rethink the Sabbath, he supping with prostitutes and tax collectors – rubbing shoulders with pedophiles and gays! In all ways he was bucking “the usual” and upending “the status quo.” The religious world, as they knew it, was being turned on its head.

Jesus was the latest and the greatest video gone viral – and He backing it up with miracles.

… the elder’s traditional toes were being stepped on – BIG time.


As I read this, I immediately hear myself read a haughty attitude into the voice of Pharisees’ question

… but maybe that wasn’t the case.

Maybe – just this once – they really wanted to know. Maybe in the midst of their “prove it” kind of way, their voice held hurt, “Why aren’t our traditions good enough, Rabbi?”

Traditions are special:  family, cultural, holiday traditions. So many have helped sculpt our hearts. They are moments in time labeled “Important” and christened with a hearty champagne slamming, tincan trailing, genuflecting send-off to the future. Traditions are meant to touch the years with a special memory and renewed purpose.

Yet tradition can turn Traitor,

when rote

becomes the definition of what is “right.”

Jesus is the God of Now; he is the God of the living.

He’s the God of Joe, and Hodji, Vladmir, and Obasi. He’s the God of Dance, and the God of Silence, the God of productions and the God of crowded living room floors. God cannot –  and will not –  be confined to our perfectly designed, “just-right” boxes. He is so much bigger and greater; so more knowing and seeing…so wildly compassionate and merciful – extending His hand to the furthest soul.

God is spirit.

The Spirit in which we live and move and have our being.

The Spirit that salts us with fire – setting our souls ablaze.

The Spirit that beats in explosions of liquid movement through the trees, and we not know not which way it blows.

“Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

Traditions are great

– until they keep us from getting our hands “dirty” at His bidding.

If my heart is bowed down before Him

If it is filled with the hope and joy of honoring Him and Him alone…

If it is willing to get knee deep in loving others well

… then any tradition I may love

is a gift I give back to him

– the Author and Finisher of my faith.


Lord, you are the God of Now. Let my life and my traditions honor you – not define you.

Watering Today: Prov. 13; ps 13, 113; Mark 7




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