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Mk 7:1-15, 21-23 · Jam 1:17-27 · SS 2:8-13 · Ps 45
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Creeds or Deeds
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23


Rev. David Chadwell posed a rather interesting question: Which would you prefer for a next-door neighbor: a person of excellent habits or a person with a good heart? Which would you prefer for a good friend: a person of excellent habits, or a person with a good heart? Which would you prefer for a husband or a wife: a person of excellent habits, or a person with a good heart? Which would you prefer for a child: a child with excellent habits, or a child with a good heart?

It is wonderful to have a neighbor who conscientiously cares for his property while respecting your property. It is wonderful to have a friend who always treats you with consideration. It is wonderful to be married to a husband who always is thoughtful and courteous, or to a wife who always is gracious in her comments and deeds. It is wonderful to have a son or daughter who shows respect and uses good manners.

As wonderful as those situations are, none of them compare to having a neighbor, a friend, a husband, a wife, a son, or a daughter with a good heart.

When you discuss good behavior, you are discussing the quality of a person's self-control. When you discuss a good heart, you are discussing the quality of the person.

This is the focus of today's Scripture...

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Leonard Sweet's Sermon

She Looked Great, But...
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23


One of the truisms of life is that you can't judge a book by its cover. Things are not always what they seem. I read a delightful story, allegedly true, about a zoo in Spain that decided to conduct an emergency drill. The drill simulated how to handle it if a gorilla escaped from its enclosure. To make the drill more realistic, a zookeeper dressed up as a gorilla and took off loping through the zoo.

Unfortunately, not everyone on staff was notified about the drill. Upon seeing a "gorilla" fleeing from its cage, one of the zoo veterinarians grabbed a tranquilizer gun and shot the employee in the leg.

"Well," he said, "it looked like a gorilla was escaping!"

You can't always judge a book by its cover. Some things are not as they might appear.

There is an intriguing legend known as "The White Witch of Rosehall." It is a tale of a beautiful woman named Annie Palmer who used her unparalleled beauty to lure wealthy men to marry her. Nothing unusual about that. However, each time Annie married someone, she found a way to convince him to add her to his will and then she would poison him. She continued to poison him even as she pretended to be nursing him back to health. The men would die, leaving her their estate. As a consequence she became quite wealthy. She was known as the "white witch" because of her alluring appearance of virtue on the outside, but her thoroughly evil nature on the inside. Perhaps you have known someone like that.

In our lesson for the day, the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law had come from Jerusalem to "investigate" Jesus. On the outside these Pharisees were the epitome of respectability. On the inside, however, they were full of fear and envy, and they were growing in their hatred for Jesus. They looked for any excuse to cast aspersion on him and his followers...

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