Mark 7: 1-30
Personally, I don’t see the problem. Isn’t it just good hygiene to wash your hands before eating, as well as cleaning your dirty pots and pans? For the sake of keeping the flu contained, I think Jesus would be on board.
I guess the problem here was the religious leaders elevating such practices to the level of religious obligation. “If it was good enough for Moses, it’s good enough for me.” No need to change.
But Jesus wasn’t interesting human traditions taking the place of a vibrant faith life. In fact, there were so many obligation heaped up on people under the guise of moral imperatives that some forgot who and what these practices were for.
I think we do the same thing as 21st century Christians. We tend to baptize established practices and call it “tradition.” We don’t like singing new songs. Newer forms of worship make us uncomfortable. We believe our organizational structures fell from heaven. We don’t like change.
Some have said that the church is the most conservative organization on the planet. That may be true. It might be because we look back 2000+ years to find our defining story. But we forget that the old, old, story creates, new, new, people, and a new, new heaven and earth. Our faith may be rooted in an ancient message, but it’s just as rooted in the future, God’s future.
So, I think this story is asking is to thinking about what traditions are getting in the way of our proclamation, and resist a change because we don't like change itself, not because the idea is bad.
And what practices enhance our message of new life in Jesus. That's a hard distinction. But one I think we need to make.