Monday, November 9, 2015

What Defiles

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat." He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.' But you say that whoever tells father or mother, 'Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,' then that person need not honor the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:
'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.'"
Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." Then the disciples approached and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?" He answered, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit." But Peter said to him, "Explain this parable to us." Then he said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile." Matthew 15:1-20 
What Defiles
The autumn days of turning
inward, drying and closing
we retreat from the outside world
of scrutiny, aggression and desire.

We think we are able to shelter 
our broken hearts and shaking anger 
if we but put on correct apperances
and so the proper dance.

Inside the fortress of our making
quakes the hurt, and anger ready to strike
ready to devour the innocent and guilty
we justify our cruelty with our faith.

We let children starve on the street
and demean their mothers as careless
judging the least as if far from God
we defile ourselves in our proud pity.

And God still walks these autumn streets
shivering with the cold and human cruelty
God still stands will the meek and humble
letting them into the warmth and comfort.

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