What's in There?

Julia Downey Davis

READ : Mark 7:1-23

You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition. (v. 8)

I remember reading a few years ago that cereal manufacturers are allowed by law to have a certain number of insect parts per pound of cereal boxed in their factories. The rationale, apparently, is that it would be virtually impossible even in a well-maintained factory to produce a cereal product that was consistently uncontaminated by these critters.

Does that thought make you want to switch to eggs for breakfast? Many of us who live in developed countries recoil from the idea of contaminated food. That’s one reason that publication of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair a century ago brought change in meat-packing facilities when it exposed their terrible conditions.

Am I as bothered, I wonder, by the contamination of God’s truth by human traditions? Traditions are valuable in transmitting information and a sense of heritage from one generation to another. Rituals solidify both cultures and families, and enhance our lives. In and of themselves, these are all good things. But Jesus’ opponents were using their human traditions as an excuse for failing to care for others. When our traditions cause us to abandon God’s commandment to love, they become as offensive as a bug in a box – a cereal box!


Lord, let me never allow tradition to make me forget to love.