“Honor your elders!”
I could hear the adage in my mother’s voice whether or not she said it. It was implied. It hung in the air around her, just waiting to leave her mouth.
By which she meant that each plate and fig and kettle and finger must be washed in a certain way, so that it would please the elders.
I wondered why they needed pleasing.
I had asked that aloud only once. My ears needed no repeat of the blistering hands and words that had followed.
But she was so devoted to the practice, that I wondered if she had any joy in what lay underneath the scrubbing and scraping.
“Nothing can defile from outside,” the visitor had said.
And I had thought of my mother’s words.
In her fervor, I doubted she even knew who she was washing way.
Mark 7:1-23 Morning Prayer