Running with Mark 50


Day Fifty – February 16, 2020  



Mark 7:1-23 New Revised Standard Version


Check out this video clip.  Address the Mess


I’m sure there are lots of us who have garages that are so full of stuff there is no room for a car.  The thought of cleaning out all of the junk can be so overwhelming that we just close the door. 

Do you have a junk drawer?  Do you know everything that is in it?


The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus.  They observed that some of his disciples did not wash their hands and were eating with “unclean” hands.  This isn’t a story about hygiene.  There was no understanding of germs back then.  The handwashing they are talking about was a ceremonial one.  It involved just a small bit of water poured onto the hands. 


Jesus receives their criticism and responds by quoting Isaiah, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  His critique is that they are doing what looks “right” on the outside, but not paying attention to what is going on inside.  They are like the stuffed-to-the-rafters-garage or the overflowing junk drawer.  From the outside everything looks neat and clean, but inside it’s a mess.


Jesus tells them that have let go of the commands of God and are holding onto the traditions of people instead.  That can sure happen in people and in churches.  We can hang on so tightly to our traditions, that we forget why we do them or what the meaning behind them originally was. An older friend of mine grew up in a family where she was not allowed to dance, but she was allowed to do square dancing, which they referred to as “social games”.  Did you grow up with religious rules and traditions? 


Lots of religions have traditions about alcohol, or eating pork, or gambling, etc. 

  • Why do you think those traditions were begun?
  • What is the meaning behind them?
  • How do we know when a tradition has become an idol?
  • How do we know when to let go of a religious tradition?
  • Are there any traditions at Lake Harriet UMC that have become idols?
  • Do a gut check. What kind of junk is going on inside of you?


Prayer of Confession

God of Sarah and Abraham, God of Rebecca and Isaac,

God of Rachel and Jacob, Heavenly Parent of Jesus the Christ,

we come before you to confess that our world and our lives are like that special night long ago when there was no room.

We have rejected your life because our home space is full of unnecessary furnishings, and so we are cluttered and confused.

We have rejected your love by filling our heart space with thoughts and feelings that have no room in your inn.

We have rejected your Son by living in church space that is confined and shortsighted.

We have rejected each other because we had no room in our lives for anyone else but ourselves.

Hear us, we ask, and fill us full of room for you, your Son, your Spirit and all the world’s people.
Words of Assurance

Do not be afraid, God says, for I am sending you to do my work.

Do not be afraid, God says, go forth and serve. Feed the hungry, house the homeless, heal the sick, and visit the lonely.

Do not be afraid, God says, for I am always with you.



Lord, I Need You

Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy


Prayer Focus:


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins