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Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gospel: Matthew 15: (10-20) 21-28

The Words We Speak

Highlighted Verses: Matthew 15: 10-20

Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Have you ever heard the expression, "you are what you eat?" It means that if you eat healthy things you'll have a healthy body.

During Jesus' life many people followed strict rules about the foods they could eat because they believed that God didn't want them eating certain things. But in today's gospel lesson Jesus tells them that it's not what goes into their mouths that matters to God - it's what comes out.

What do you think Jesus meant? What comes out of our mouths? (Solicit children's responses.)

That's right. The things we say are important because our words are full of power. Has anyone ever said something that made you feel really proud of yourself? Words can do that. They can make us feel happy - and make us feel loved. They can make us feel important and smart and capable...

But maybe you can also think of a time that someone said something that really hurt your feelings? Words can sometimes "hurt" more than even hitting or kicking, can't they. They wrong words - unkind words - can make us feel terrible, can't they?

So this week I want you to join me in thinking carefully about the words you use - and look for chances to use your words to make people feel better, smarter, happier and more loved than they did before you spoke. Will you do that?

Let's pray.

Dear God,

Jesus reminds us that our words proceed from our hearts. Fill our hearts - and words - with your love during the week ahead.


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