Church Service 2021-08-29 That Which Defiles

August 26, 2021

Call to Celebration

God, we enter into worship fully aware of your divinity.

In your presence, we are fully known and seen.

We come with the intention of letting go of our religiosity.

Traditions and rituals are not the essence of our faith.

Worship begins in the heart.

We come with the expectation of being transformed by Eternal and communal presence.

Relationship is your metric system.

Attune our hearts to what lives within.

Precepts are human trappings.

Devotions of the heart lead us to freedom.



  Through devotion

  Blessed are the children

  Praise the teacher

  That brings true love to many

  Your devotion

  Opens all life's treasures,

  And deliverance

  From the fruits of evil

  So our mission

  To bring a melody

  Ringin' voices,

  Sing sweet harmony


*Earth, Wind & Fire. Lyrics to “Devotion.” Genius, 2021,

Pastor Summary and Bullet Points

 During Jesus’ time on earth the Pharisees were the religious fundamentalists. In all four Gospels these are the people that Jesus was constantly in conflict with. In today’s passage the Pharisees complain that Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hand properly before they eat and thus, becoming unclean or unrighteous. Jesus challenges their judgement calling them hypocrites. It is not what they consumed from the outside that defiled them but, what was inside their heart and mind. It is the inner self where people commit unhealthy acts. While reflecting on this passage I was also reminded that Jesus still showed compassion to those who were wounded and acted out on their trauma. As you all know I am not keen on religious fundamentalist regardless of the religion. However, I was compelled to look at them with compassion rather than judgement.

  • What are the commands of God?
  • Why are human rules more appealing?
  • Why do we worship lessor gods?
  • It is what comes from the heart. Heart mind
  • Our first impulse maybe to quickly go to judging.
  • When most of us act out in a destructive way it is from a place of being severely wounded.
  • If one feels unsafe in this world they need a predictable god.
  • If one needs clear definitions of what is right and wrong, righteous and evil then one is drawn to rules based religions.
  • When one is righteous for following the rules then one’s actions are justified by their god.

A dear friend of mine who attended a highly liturgical church tradition share with me, “My life is so full of chaos I find comfort going to a church where I know the liturgy will be the same season after season and week after week.”

  • I get that. But…”8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
  • The life of spirit is one where we find our peace in our connection with the Divine regardless of what is happening in the world around us.
  • Spirit is free, Nicodemus
  • Religious fundamentalism is not about faith in my mind. It is about certainty in the rules that all must adhere to.
  • If we are following the rules then we must be okay…while the brokenness and wounds remain. This is the mask, the hypocrisy.
  • I believe faith is about a certainty that God loves us unconditionally and helps to heal from our wounds.
  • Faith is taking the risk to heal from and change unhealthy thoughts and belief systems that result in destructive behavior.
  • Human rules and religious practices may help us to discipline not to act out on our destructive impulses.
  • However, it has been my experience that only sojourning to the dark places in our psyche, soul and face what is broken will bring about our full transformation.
  • In every case in emotional therapy that I have experienced and helped others to experience we came to a cross road. Do I go deeper or do I stop here?
  • When those whom I have counseled hesitate I ask why. The answer is the same every time. “If I go deeper I am afraid of what I might find.” I reassured them that I felt the same when I was at that cross road. In spite of the fear I took the risk.
  • In every case I have been involved with including myself this is what was discovered.
  • We discovered a loving and forgiving God who had been there all of the time waiting for us. The Divine, like the father of the prodigal son had been there waiting and longing for our return.
  • In every case I have experienced this was the point where true healing began. This place of unconditional love and forgiveness was the place where transformation and the journey to wholeness took place.
  • This is the beginning of our salvation, sozo, to become whole, complete healed. To become liberated and set free.

Full Service Service August 29

Scripture Lesson

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 NIV 

That Which Defiles

7 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.

5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.


They worship me in vain;

their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]

8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

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