Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Who is in?

Scripture: Mark 7:1-13
February 10, 2015

They saw some of his disciples eating food with unclean hands. Mark 7:2

Every culture has rules that create distinctions between who are in and who are out.  We can so easily make judgments based on someone’s appearance.  Recently I was in a coffee shop in downtown El Paso, after visiting the Art Museum, with my husband and son.  As we got a warm beverage on a cold day, a young woman walked through the shop.  Her hair was in knots and she had a big backpack with her and I immediately thought to myself “she’s homeless and probably could use a warm drink too.” 

I’m glad I kept my thoughts to myself, because she ordered her own drink, paid for it and then sat down opened her Mac computer and began to type.
How quickly I can judge someone else based on how they appear.
Last year during holy week, I went on the hike up the Mt. Cristo Rey with a friend and my daughter.  It was a cold day, with lots of clouds in the sky and a harsh strong wind.  Being in the desert, we probably had a layer of dirt on us from the journey.  Eva and I then went to The Mustard Seed Café for lunch (a pay what you can café that is housed in my church).  I know many of the volunteers and the owners and the staff.  The comment I heard over and over again was “we’ve never seen you like this before!”  Almost in a shocked way, like hey that is what you look like before you clean up in the morning!?! (in a Christian sort of way). 
I laugh about it now (and did then).  But it highlights that we still to this day put people in categories based on how they present themselves.  I realize that it goes deeper than our “cleanliness” and our access to clean water and soap and laundry mats, etc.  The color of our skin or the culture that we claim and name as our own also can work strongly against us depending on the crowd we are in.
So while I hesitate to jump on the band wagon and say “bad Pharisees,”  because frankly I realize shouldn’t turn around and make them the other.  Instead I wonder how often do I play the part of the Pharisee?
Prayer: God help me to take time to listen and learn from the variety of people I encounter today.  Amen.

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