Sermon St John the Baptist, Mildenhall, 2nd September 2018
Trinity 14: Deuteronomy 4.1-2,6-9 & Mark 7.1-8,14,15,21-23
Listen and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. (Mark 6.14-15)
The week before last, I spent on retreat in Alnmouth in Northumberland, and walking along the North Sea shore, I found myself thinking quite a lot about these words: it is not what is outside that defines us, but what comes from the inside. It is not our situation that determines who we are, but how we respond to it.
In this passage from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus specifically speaks about laws and customs around food. The Jewish had and still has rather strict rules about what can and cannot be eaten under certain circumstances, and how food is to be prepared and eaten. In the verses that are omitted from the reading this morning, Mark makes the comment that Jesus has now declared all foods clean.