The passages set for today and tomorrow address issues of uncleanness which, when left to their own devices, leads to exclusion from fellowship with God and community with others. No doubt the point will have been made by now that the principle of the unclean making the clean ‘unclean’, is conquered by Jesus who touches the unclean and makes them clean. It’s a good point worth hearing – however often - because it changes our attitude to mission, gives hope of transformation and turns the outsider inside out to become the one who is ‘in’. More on this tomorrow, I think.
But, for today let’s think of the way in which things that are unclean really do contaminate the air we breathe, the atmosphere we live in, the culture we imbibe. They really do affect us and the gateways into our lives are often our eyes and our ears. We are to be custodians of our intake. The things we allow ourselves to watch and hear. There is much that passes us by inadvertently: it’s impossible to open a daily newspaper, watch television, go to the cinema, be on Facebook, have a Twitter account without inappropriate images and words put in front of us. However, we do choose whether or not to make space for those things – it’s all about the second glance. You can’t avoid the first – but you can choose whether or not to pass over or engage.
The things you choose to focus on will determine the health of your soul: spirit, mind and body. Then of course it’s not just you that suffers the contagion. Even in the New Testament church there is an understanding that the unclean still contaminates the clean. There is a certain ruthlessness implied in the pastoral letters – whether of Paul, Peter or others. How about Paul’s advice to the Corinthian church: don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? (1 Cor 5:6) or the call in Colossians (Ch 3) to rid yourself of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language. Or even Jesus’s dramatic call to ‘cut off your hand’ if it offends you.
Uncleanness spreads. It contaminates. It has to be ruthlessly dealt with – just as in the physical described in Leviticus may we be equally committed to making sure that infectious sin diseases are not transmitted from one to the other. The call is not to be examining others but to self-examination – sin caught early is more easily to treat then long-lasting habits that turn into addictions.
Engage in some healthy introspection today. Is anything becoming a spreading mildew in your heart?