Reflections Week of 7/17/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the message preached the previous Sunday. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.

Read Isaiah 1:18-20

I work in a hospital where one of the major initiatives is “clean hands in, clean hands out.” The concept is simple, whenever staff enters or leaves a patient room they are instructed to clean their hands to inhibit the spread of disease. Because we use our hands to touch everything we do, hands are the most likely culprit of contamination. Dirty hands leave behind a trail of filth that infects everything else you touch throughout your day. Dirty hands = dirty lives, clean hands = clean lives.

The concept applies to our spiritual lives as well. Throughout the bible God talks about this idea of clean versus dirty. Isaiah lays out a clear choice that we must make daily, obedience or rebellion. If we live in rebellion we are stuck in our impurities, guilty in our sin, blood on our hands. But, if we live as God has instructed we can be cleansed, white as snow, pure as wool. While God’s grace is all-sufficient and ever-present there is an element of responsibility in our own lives to make good decisions. The choice is before us every second of every day; will I live in rebellion or obedience?

Isn’t it kind of God to constantly remind us that no matter how crimson our lives look we are never too far gone? Repentance is always available. God’s arms are always open. May your hands be clean today.

For Reflection: Looking back on your last week, how clean have your hands been? What steps can you take to make your hands cleaner?

 

Read Luke 5:12-15

If I’m honest, if I were to look at my life on a spectrum of white to crimson, most days would be varying shades of pink. No matter how diligent I am about trying to lead a life of obedience I always seem to mess up. I always say things I don’t mean to say or don’t do what I know is right. (If you also feel this way most days check out Romans 7. You’re in good company; the apostle Paul felt this way a lot, too.) On my own I am hopeless to live a pure and blameless life.

Thankfully God made us, loves us, and understands fully how desperately hopeless we are on our own. He sends Jesus to redeem all aspects of our lives and to purify us. We see Jesus’ heart when he encounters the man with leprosy. In the ancient world, leprosy was extremely contagious and so if you were diagnosed you were sentenced to quarantine in a leprosy colony. If you were to walk down the street, you had to avoid contact with others and scream out “Unclean, Unclean” to warn others of your condition. Your entire identity became intertwined with the concept that you were dirty.

Did Jesus have to touch this man to heal him? No. Did he even have to talk to him? No. But Jesus demonstrates his purifying power in that, with one touch, we are able to go from 100% dirty to 100% clean. His grace was sufficient for the man with leprosy and it is sufficient for us today.

For Reflection: Have you accepted Jesus’ purifying touch to cover your sins?

Reflections written by Sarah Gioia

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