Don’t Talk to Grandkids and Interrupt Their Texting

     Ed, my neighbor next door, had a challenge when it came to his grandchildren at Easter. His grandchildren at Edmonton are into their teens and are busy with handheld devices. My neighbor says that they talk, text, take pictures, play games and act like there are no living creatures around them. Ed claims, “You may as well be in a room of zombies because your grandkids are absorbed playing with their devices. We have lost them to their gadgets. It is as bad as them being in a cult.”

     Easter turned sour for Ed on another level. He returned home to Melville to discover a different real estate sign on our lawn. He is determined that we have switched horses in midstream, and it could now take even longer for our house to sell. Ed says that if our house doesn’t soon sell he will have to buy it for one of his grandkids. The problem is that he would have to communicate with them through an iPhone. It is the only way to get his grandkids’ attention. My neighbor admits he isn’t smart enough to use a Smartphone so he won’t be buying our house. I’m with Ed when it comes to iPhones, I’m back in the past, still impressed with touch tone phones rather than dial phones.

     There is no doubt the iPhones of today are impressive and portable. Many folks like me find it hard to stretch to new inventions and technologies. It is not always good to be satisfied with what we know and to be skeptical or critical of what is new or different to us. When it comes to our spiritual lives, there can be a tension between traditions and ceremonial practices and the absence of them. That certainly was the case with Jesus.

      The Pharisees and teachers of the law were critical of Jesus and his disciples, when the disciples of Jesus were seen eating food with hands that were unwashed. It was not a food safety matter. It was a lack of ceremonial washing. Jesus wanted his disciples and those critical of him to consider what matters most. We can focus on clean hands or clean hearts. Clean hands do not stop people from having evil thoughts. Evil thoughts result in sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. The ceremonial washing of hands was ineffective in cleansing the sinfulness hidden inside people.

     The critics of Jesus also focused on who Jesus helped, and recognized. In the time of Jesus, tax collectors were dismissed by the religious leaders as unworthy sinners to be shunned. When Jesus entered Jericho, a chief tax collector, by the name of Zacchaeus climbed a tree so that he could see Jesus. Jesus stopped under the tree and told Zacchaeus to come down so Jesus could stay with him.

     People muttered that Jesus was going to be the guest of a sinner. Zacchaeus pledged to give half his possessions to the poor and pay back four times the amount if he had cheated anyone. Jesus wanted to address what was going on inside Zacchaeus. He came to seek and to save the lost in their hearts. Clean hands are good but clean hearts are even better.

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