People: not so sharp

Mark 7:14-15,17-20 (NIV)
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. [15] Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ” [17] After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. [18] “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’? [19] For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) [20] He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him `unclean.’

Oh, the Jews were serious about their dietary laws. Asking if they were dull was a bit of a slap. But Jesus has impeccable aim.

I read recently that my own navel is swarming with bacteria. Yuck! But they are my bacteria and I remain surprisingly calm.

The devastating upshot of Jesus’ rebuke focuses on the ease with which we humans can obsess over our navels and bludgeon our neighbors.

Justice is coming. The long arm of the Lord will fall on each of us. At that point our kinship with righteousness will matter far more than our lunch.

Clean is clean
Holy is fierce
And we?
Are dull indeed without him.

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