Mark 7:12

why, then you do not allow them to do anything further for their father or mother! 13In this way you nullify the words of God by your traditions, which you hand down; and you do many similar things.”

care beyond intention
tests our resolve
to live honorably

for care takes
time       energy       resources
distributing them elsewhere

care makes saps
my personal destiny
spectacular self control

and care makes
deals with devils
at every turn

care debates care
until self care
again wins out

Myers80 describes the consequences of choosing a love of G*D over a love of Neighb*r (in this case the close neighbors of parents):

…because this practice leaves one’s parents financially ostracized, Jesus argues, the “vow” to the Temple becomes a “curse” upon the elderly 7:12), and “nullifies the command of God” (7:13).

This brings us to today with a written purpose (Declaration of Independence, where general welfare of citizens is the only thing that makes a general defense worth the doing) and a tradition of individual freedom (whose only restraint is Market maximization of personal profit).

We are still playing this game in the area of secular religion or economic theory. There is always one more rationalization about how I can avoid taxes and place the burden of no social services on those who can’t avoid a time of need.

Myers81 summarizes:

The principle here is the same as the one we saw in earlier conflict stories: Jesus puts those who are vulnerable (in this case the dependent elderly) before the demands of institutions and the sophistry of the privileged. Mark is again trying to show how “piety” can pre-empt justice.

Note this sequence in John Wesley’s sermon, “On Zeal”:

Be calmly zealous therefore, first, for the church…. Be more zealous for all those ordinances [works of piety, laws of holiness]…. Be more zealous for those works of mercy [feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting them that are sick and in prison]…. Be more zealous still for holy tempers, for ‘long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, lowliness, and resignation’; but be most zealous of all for love, the queen of all graces, the highest perfection in earth or heaven, the very image of the invisible God, as in men below, so in angels above. For ‘God is love…’.

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