Year B Pentecost 14 – Song Sol 2:8-13; Ps 45:1-2, 6-9; James 1:17-27; Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Fear is the motivation of many devoted to worshipping gods. This is a current reality. Well over a billion people still offer daily sacrifices to deities outside our Christian tradition. They offer sacrifices to appease their gods.
Our lectionary readings today reveal a different motive: love. Both Old Testament readings are love songs. They sing of a devotion offered out of love for God. Worshipping is a royal love affair.
The epistle brings true worship into practical living. When we love God, we love our neigbours and ourselves. James translates that as being a “doer of the word, and not merely hearers.” We practice scriptural precepts out of devotion to God.
Mark illustrates this through washing. Whereas many pay attention to washing external things and are “seen” as devoted to God, Jesus taught that internal cleansing is required. To worship God truly, we must do so from the heart. True worship is out of love, not fear.