"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Mark 7:1-23 Commentary
by Angela Dienhart Hancock
Jesus and the Pharisees are at it again.
I guess we could say the Pharisees started it, by calling out Jesus’ disciples and their grubby hands. Why do they neglect to wash the world off before coming to dinner as their elders taught them? As a teenager I know would say: yeah, it’s judgy.
But does Jesus come back with a proportional response when he takes up a damning prophecy from Isaiah and throws the book at them? No. Jesus’ argument is this: the Pharisees regularly confuse the interpretation of the Law with the Law itself.
Here’s the problem, though: laws don’t interpret themselves. They never have. “Honor thy mother and father”—what does that mean? Is it obvious what honoring might entail? Or who might be included in the categories “mother” and “father”? We might even wonder if the whole scuffle about handwashing might be seen in a different light. Maybe the Pharisees’ concern that the tradition of the elders is cherished is also a response to the ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL Podcast 396: What Defiles?
February 16, 2020
Podcast on the Narrative Lectionary readings for Feb. 16, 2020, (What Defiles?) featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker. Recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn., for Working Preacher.