Good morning all!
Today’s scripture: MARK 2:23-28
23One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” 25And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” 27Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
What is Sabbath? That is the question that comes to mind this morning….a beautiful grey Saturday morning….a morning in which many people find renewal and rest. And then we get this scripture this morning about Jesus not really observing Sabbath by making sure his people had food. What gets in the way of respecting what Sabbath is? Do we get a little too into what is rest and what is not?
What does the term Sabbath come from? If Jesus was in the midst of this debate it obviously comes from before Christianity. Shabbat is actually an ancient Jewish tradition and is supposed to be eagerly awaited for to set aside weekday concerns and just rest. A time to “devote ourselves to higher pursuits” (www.jewfaq.org/shabbat). A day of rest and spiritual enrichment. The idea is to recognize all the way from Genesis that seventh day of rest that God took after a very busy week of creation.
And here is Jesus making sure his people have food. He gets in trouble and his response? Sabbath was made as a gift for humans and humans were not made for Sabbath. In other words? Let’s respect what Sabbath was meant for…respond in terms that honors rest but does not over subscribe to strict law that starves people instead of pretending that we have to abide by every rule. You see, Sabbath had gotten all full of restrictions and rule and law. And I can follow a guy that questions law in order to get the best possible result. My people are hungry? Well, we can still rest and eat by what means we need to.
What does rest mean for us? On the other end of the spectrum, we justify all of our work on rest times…have we swung the other way? Are we even looking at the intention of important rest? I know that I am the first one to look at here….I am preaching to myself. I am guilty of checking work emails on my day off or answering my phone and not using my Sabbath time fully. So today I will look ahead to the week and pick a Sabbath time. This is harder than it appears in my book. Today I am at an all day board retreat. Nope, that won’t be Sabbath….tomorrow I am working….nope, not Sabbath. So when?
When will you spend some intentional time for rest and spiritual enrichment? It may not look the same as my time but when will it be? Perhaps this is our first step…..
Prayer: O God, open our eyes to see the balance in your world. Help us to keep that balance between work, rest, and pleasure. Help us to set aside time to just be this week. And maybe, God, help us to renew a glimpse of you today. Amen.