September 2, 2018
Back in Mark’s Gospel, we find Jesus confronted by scribes and Pharisees over his lack of practicing traditional purity rituals (laws).
The upsurge in identity politics we’re experiencing this summer feels a lot like the atmosphere of antagonism and the culture of suspicion in which Jesus and these capitol city elites squared off. Like many folks at this summer’s political rallies and Town Halls, the crowd hearing Jesus spar with the Pharisees and scribes, no matter their social class or religious leanings, knew they had a stake in the argument’s outcome.
Neither the scribes and Pharisees, nor Jesus’ disciples were able to get past this parable’s familiar details and grapple with its deeper truth. For those first hearers, the challenge was to come to grips with this truth: the Author of their Bible was writing a new story, in Jesus.
At our 9:30 A.M., Sunday worship, in prayer, Word, song, sermon and Meal, we encounter Jesus’ new identity politics where God is friend to every sinner, and Jesus brings to each one a new, clean heart. This, too, comes for us from outside. Outside the holy city, on a hill called Calvary, Jesus crossed into new territory. There, the outstretched arms of Jesus reveal the depths of God’s heartfelt love for each of us, for all of us. Three days later, the real Enemy was defeated once for all.