Rev. Peter Greiner
Sun 26 Jul
At the present time a lot of cleanliness is being practiced. You go to the supermarket and you see glass screens in place. You see card readers being wiped down. Even buttons on pedestrian crossings are wiped down. Why? There is a bug on the loose with the potential to take one’s life. People are taking as many precautions as they can to make sure covid 19 keeps as far away as possible.
Such unprecedented cleanliness was also practiced in the first century to the extent that people who did not practice such cleanliness were called out for not practicing such cleanliness. It should not surprise us that Jesus was questioned quite closely over their practices.
It was common practice that hands would be ritually washed prior to eating or ministering in the temple. For them it symbolised how serious they took at being clean before God. In some cases the entire body would be washed. In other cases water was poured over the hands up to the wrists to ensure the right rituals were carried out. While we might wash our hands before a meal for a very different reason, we none the less face a killer that effects us all – sin. Such a killer is deadly. As Paul would write for all Christians – “the wages of sin is death.” John writes how to deal with such a killer. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We could substitute ‘cleanse’ for ‘purify’. Give thanks that God can cleanse us from what will kill us.