Thursday, July 28, 2011

Consider the Outcome

In today's reading from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus places a spiritual emphasis on the hardest discipline of faith - generating a holy life - our spiritual outcome. In Mark 7:1-23, Jesus is confronted by leaders who attack the lack of ritual purity amongst his followers. By the end of the exchange, the challenge is put to those who would hang their hat on tradition alone.

Speaking to the crowd, he says, "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." He places the burden of faith on the human heart and its outcome. It is too easy to focus on external circumstance and custom when the genuine and productive work of faith begins in the heart.

As an example, Jesus points his accusers toward the fifth commandment, to honor father and mother. How might our heart be moved to bear good fruit in light of that commandment? The Larger Catechism suggests this commandment even affects our relationship to a stranger on the street, "to regard the dignity and worth of each other, in giving honor to go one before another, and to rejoice in each other’s gifts and advancement as their own." (Q.131)

How might our lives and our world change if we mastered the affections of our hearts and employed that change in daily life?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for doing this Brian. It looks like a new undertaking, and I would like to be one of your supporters. I need daily spiritual nourishment, and voices like yours are most welcome.


Welcome, I'm interested to hear your reflection on the passages. A spirit of meditation is appreciated.