The concept of separation is from the devil and is lit with the fires of hell (Gehenna). Jesus came to unite us in Him.
9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is [becomes] an abomination [the question is, to whom?].
Jesus called everyone to rally around Him. He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). He said that all who believes His message does not come into judgment, but has already passed from death to life (John 5:24). He is the Center for all humanity. The Pharisees and scribes didn’t see it that way. They had all kinds of rules and traditions that kept them separated from the common folk. One day, they asked why the disciples did not walk according to their traditions. Look at Jesus’ response:
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’ (Isaiah 29:13)
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ (Exodus 20:12) and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ (Exodus 21:17) 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Mark had written earlier that “there are many other things which they have received as traditions to firmly hold, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, and copper pots” (Mark 7:4).
What we have to be willing to do is set aside any of our own traditions and even beliefs when we find that Jesus teaches another way. Jesus went on to teach that it’s not what a person puts in his mouth that defiles him, but rather what comes out of his mouth in the way of words and out of his heart in the way of “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:14-23).
Abba, Peter was right: You are the one with the words of life. May we always be ready and willing to change the way we think when You show us something new. There is so much to reading the Bible that obscures and/or colors our view: Our age, gender, experiences, previous teaching, temperament, etc. Much has been passed down to us from others. The problem is that it’s been 2,000 years since You were here in the flesh. We haven’t always perceived correctly what the Spirit has been saying to the churches. Help us to renounce ways that lead to shame, to refuse to practice cunning or to distort the word of God. May we learn all we can from Christians throughout the timeline of Christianity who have walked with You. May we be open to reading Your words in historical context, of which I am sadly lacking. From Your mouth to our ears, O Lord. Amen.