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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for August 29, 2021

We post a Forward Day by Day Meditation for every day of the year - and we invite you to consider them and talk about them here. If you'd like to comment, you can log in to Disqus with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account; just click "Login," or the appropriate logo below. Or, you can sign up for a Disqus account; just use the entry form below, or click the "D" logo to start the process. You can find the past week's Meditations in the box at right (or below, for mobile users), or search for previous entries on the Archives page. You can also listen to the Forward Day by Day podcast anywhere you find podcasts!

SUNDAY, August 29                  14 Pentecost

Deuteronomy 4:2 You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.

In today’s gospel, the Pharisees and scribes are harassing Jesus because his followers don’t wash their hands before they eat. Jesus charges them with hypocrisy for setting up numerous religious rules dealing with external details. As in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus moves the standard of perfection inward, to the love that comes out of a person’s heart. Real evils arise in the heart, and none of them have to do with diet.

Over the past year, many have advocated the importance of handwashing for public health. This and other rules like stopping at red lights can be extremely important and even be a matter of life and death. To the consternation of children coming to the dinner table everywhere, Jesus doesn’t say that we should stop washing our hands. In fact, we do those things and others out of love for our neighbors. That love—and not strict adherence to the letter of the law—is what matters to Jesus.

MOVING FORWARD: What actions can you take each day to show love?

PRAY for the Episcopal Church of South Sudan

Ps 45:1-2, 7-10 or Ps 15 | Song of Solomon 2:8-13 or Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 | James 1:17-27 | Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

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