Welcome to the blog of the Enough for Everyone program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). By "just living" we mean both justice-based living and just simply living – freeing ourselves from the clutter of stuff so we can focus on living faithfully and living well. Join us in the exploration!
About the Author
Bryce Wiebe coordinates Enough for Everyone, a ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. He loves slow food and is fascinated by the way things are made. He is excited to dive into experiments in simplicity with you. His sacred cow of consumption: kitchen gadgets.
Wash wash wash your hands:
Text: Matthew 15:10-20
10Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”
Lesson: it’s important to eat with clean hands and eat clean food, but our words and actions are the things that show we have a clean heart.
What you need: a little dirt from a potted plant. A cookie, or piece of fruit, or vegetable – something ready to eat. A bowl of water and a clean rag.
(Hold whatever food item you have in your hands. Make sure you’ve covered your hands in the dirt from a potted plant. Place the bowl and rag in another place.)
Yummy! Look what I have here. (show it to all the kids. Make sure they you’re your dirty hands) Doesn’t this look good? I love a good apple [or whatever food you have]. Yum. I think I’m going to take a big bite! What do you think? No? You don’t think I should take a big bite? Why not? Yes of course. My hands are very dirty aren’t they. I probably shouldn’t eat anything with my hands as dirty as this. What should I do? Ah! I have something right here.
(get out the bowl and towel. Wash your hands in the bowl and dry them off)
There. Now that’s better, don’t you think? Do you all make sure you wash your hands before you eat? I’ll bet you do. Or at least you try to. We wash our fruits and vegetables and we wash our hands because if we don’t, we might get sick. It’s an important way to stay healthy and clean.
In the story today, our friend Jesus wants us to think about other ways that we are clean. He tells us that, even if we accidently ate something that was dirty, or with dirty hands, it doesn’t mean we are dirty or bad people. Though, it may make us sick, so please keep on washing your hands. We want to stay healthy.
But Jesus reminds us that we want to do and say things that are clean, too. When we say something mean to our siblings or parents, or to someone at school, it shows that there is something in our hearts that needs to be cleaned out. It’s like a different kind of dirt. But when we do things that are nice, like helping wash the dishes after dinner, or like complimenting our sister or brother, or saying something nice and true about someone we find hard to like, that shows something else about our heart; that it is kind and generous and good.
Jesus wants us to show the goodness in our hearts. And Jesus wants to help clean up the moments when things aren’t so clean. Whenever we do something naughty or say something mean and hurtful; something that reveals a little dirt in our hearts, we can apologize to the person we have hurt and we can ask for forgiveness and we can ask Jesus to clean our hearts. Then we will not only have clean hands, but clean hearts as well. Can you pray with me?
Repeat after me:
for clean hands and clean food.
Not to do or say mean things.
And if we do,
Help us clean up our hearts
Just like we make sure to wash our hands.
In Jesus name,