Reflect: Last Sunday, we talked about one of the greatest problems of humanity. As Blaise Pascale said, “All human problems stem from a man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Without this skill, we cannot know ourselves. Without knowing yourself we can’t interact with the world around us in a healthy way. The ways of the world will continue to tempt us towards greed, unfaithfulness, hopelessness, and violence if we do not learn to sit still in the room alone. Keeping our hearts pure, telling the truth and acting out of pure intentions are our defense against evil in the world.
Challenge: Have you noticed that there are more old trees in wealthy communities than in the poor neighborhoods? This is how the human fear of survival makes people think less of beauty and sustainability. Trying to survive, people lose the vision for the future. Organizations are like that. Stable organizations can afford to pay more attention to the quality of communications, relationships, and the environment.
Go Deeper: Is God’s dwelling place external, or internal, or both? Psalm 84 confirms that God’s dwelling place is right here with us, in the surroundings and the people. If God’s dwelling place is within us, how do we make that place lovely for God? Perhaps God’s dwelling place, right here and now, is where eternal life is found. What words of eternal life is God speaking in your heart at this time and this place?
The Bible is not written by the powerful people who rule the world, but by those who found strength in God who is good, creative, active, loving, and resourceful. From the Bible, we learn about our world. God’s creation is beautiful and full of life. God didn’t paint the world in one color, and that makes our experience so diverse and exciting.
Reading the Bible we learn about God and God’s work in the lives of our ancestors, but the Bible is not a history book. The Bible continues teaching us about ourselves. There are a few important things about our identity as God’s children. We are creative; we are compassionate, and we are forgiving because our God is creative, compassionate, and forgiving.
In Mark 7, Jesus’ followers do not follow the religious purity laws about eating. Moreover, Jesus does not get alarmed. He speaks against the old law. The old laws and tradition were challenged by fast-growing and spreading new Greek and Roman traditions. Jesus’ response is direct and clear: he calls the Pharisees, who worried more about was the food clean and unclean, hypocrites. What is put into the body cannot make a person dirty or “unclean.” Instead, it is what comes out of the mouth that makes a person unclean. This all comes to our internal change if we want to grow. For Jesus, religious purity is about really living the way of a loving God and God’s creation. Our creation depends on us and it starts from within.