We switch focus this week and talk about sin and law in the readings, we switch up all of the readings this week. Beginning in Deuteronomy, we hear Moses bring the laws to the people saying “hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you, so that you may live and enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord has given us.” Moses then says that by observing the statutes we will be the talk of nations for our wisdom and intelligence. We are warned to be careful in observing these decrees as the Lord had said you shall not add to or subtract from this list. In this account of the story in the second (deutero-) canon this is before Moses has told what the statutes and decrees are but Moses is basically saying “Hey, people of Israel, you’ve got to follow these rules set forth by the Lord.” The Psalm this week is interesting as it is “The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” This is basically what Moses was saying in Deuteronomy.
As we turn to the New Testament we hear from the Letter of James. This is one of the universal letters the so called catholic letters this was Martin Luther’s lest favorite letter since James contradicted Paul so often, he called it “right strawy epistle”. James is the most social conscious of the books of the New Testament. We hear that all good comes from the Father of lights. James tells us to be doers of the word not only hearers. Then he says that religion that is pure and undefiled is one that cares for the orphans, widows and those who keep themselves unstained by the world. We need to be doers of the word of the Lord here on earth. Finally, we reach Mark’s Gospel where Jesus essentially says that sin comes from the heart. The Pharisees noticed that Jesus and friends ate meals with unclean hands, so they spoke up asking why they didn’t follow the tradition of washing before a meal. Jesus replies is a classic moment as he throws back some Isaiah back at them asking it they were what Isaiah had prophesied as the hypocrites “those who honor me with their lips but in their hearts are far from me” Jesus then gathered a large group of people and said that only that which comes out of the body can defile it not what is put into it. So take the reminded from James and be a doer of the words of the Lord.