Saturday, May 07, 2005

Fruit and Fads

On Today's Menu:
Holy Mixed Fruit Medley!

There's an old song that goes: "They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love..." I remember we sang it around the fire at camp, back in the Kum By Ya era. (I must note that back then I was very, very young.)

Am I showing Christ and how to live a Christian life because I say the right words and know the special secret code catch phrases? (See? I used a catch phrase there--'showing Christ,' as if I carried Him in my pocket to share with the class at show-and-tell.) In some circles, it's not enough to answer, "I'm fine," when someone asks how you're doing. It's better to say, "I'm blessed."

Do we think that because we wear only Christian clothes, read only Christian books, tune into only Christian news, listen to only Christian music, speak only Christian phrases, suck on Testa-mints instead of Tic-Tacs, consume only Christian food and drink that these things make us examples to others? "Be like me, join our club." Do we think someone wants to join in based on just those things?

What fruit do our lives bear? It doesn't matter if we look like Christ's #1 fan on the outside with a T-shirt that says "Go God!" in red festooned with pom-poms.

"The Pharisees, along with some religion scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around him. They noticed that some of his disciples weren't being careful with ritual washings before meals. The Pharisees--Jews in general, in fact--would never eat a meal without going through the motions of a ritual hand-washing, with an especially vigorous scrubbing if they had just come from the market (to say nothing of the scourings they'd give jugs and pots and pans).

The Pharisees and religion scholars asked, "Why do your disciples flout the rules, showing up at meals without washing their hands?"

Jesus answered, "Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull's-eye in fact:
These people make a big show of saying the right thing,
but their heart isn't in it.
They act like they are worshiping me,
but they don't mean it.
They just use me as a cover
for teaching whatever suits their fancy,
Ditching God's command
and taking up the latest fads."

Jesus called the crowd together again and said, "Listen now, all of you--take this to heart. It's not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it's what you vomit--that's the real pollution.

When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, "We don't get it. Put it in plain language."

Jesus said, "Are you being willfully stupid? Don't you see that what you swallow can't contaminate you? It doesn't enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed."

He went on: "It's what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness--all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution."

Excerpts from Mark chapter 7 (the Message)

Lord, help me work on my insides most of all. I won't have to say "I'm blessed" or drive down the road with Mercy Me blaring out the windows, or buy the latest Holy Joe wrist band (in rainbow colors!). When You shine through, I won't have to try to look like a groupie.

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