July 17, 2015
The good news for today
Criticized by powers-that-be because His disciples were working to gather grains on the Sabbath, Jesus gives some examples of other Sabbath-breakers, then concludes: “I’m telling you, something more important than the rituals of religion is going on here. If you only knew what this old saying was about: ‘I desire caring, not causing victims,’ (Hosea 6,6) you would not have criticized these innocent men. The Son of Man, in fact, is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12, 7-8)
“The Son of Man” is a term Jesus often uses to describe “everyday people”–you and me and Him—common, ordinary, and trying-hard humans.
You are the Lord of the Sabbath. Does that mean you don’t have to go to church on Sunday, you can disregard the Commandment, and you can dismiss church law? No, that is silly. You, I and Jesus respect Law. Laws exist for a reason. Some laws are bad, of course. The Fugitive Slave Law and many Civil Rights restrictions—and certain laws today are just wrong. Disobey ‘em (nonviolently) and suffer consequences,
But this is really about Good News. What is the Good News—about the fact that you are the “boss,” the “owner” in charge of the Sabbath? What is your responsibility, and how do you deal with this ancient religious and cultural institution?
Sunday offers you a day to CARE, to express kindness perhaps by sharing food (Sunday/Sabbath meals ARE a tradition many practice), but mostly by ensuring that somehow, somehow, the practice of religion does not interfere with or overwhelm compassion, but integrates it. It is a time to reach out to others with loving help.
In today’s highly charged religious differences, this Good News seems so often to get lost. People—today’s Pharisees—criticize rather than nourish others. Your task—your life—is to remind such people by your actions that the reason for your religious practices is to love one another. You confront such judges by caring for, by serving, especially the physical needs of people around you. Make your “Sabbath” the day you quietly serve –perhaps even the people of your own household!