Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Keeping the Sabbath
Mark 2:23-28 (ESV) One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain.  And the Pharisees were saying to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"  And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him:  how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?"  And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath." “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. “ I’m not sure why it is that this is so hard for people to grasp, even Christians. We don’t even worship on the Sabbath anymore, well most of us don’t. The Seventh Day Adventists and Jehova Witnesses, can’t seem to grasp the fact that Jesus rose on Sunday and that is worth celebrating on a weekly basis. And that is really the Christian idea of the Sabbath, of worship, that of celebration, commemoration. We recognize that something imminently important happened with the resurrection of Christ, Something that vindicated him and his blasphemous treatment of the Sabbath. He rose from the dead. The man who said his death would be for the forgiveness of the world, rose from the dead. That is reason to celebrate. We are no longer slaves to the law. And that is why week after week, we in principle, break the third commandment, and yet keep it in Spirit by celebrating his resurrection on Sunday. But even if Christ was not our Sabbath rest, and the Sabbath was in play, as it was while Jesus and his disciples were walking through the grain fields, this does not mean that to honor the Sabbath would be to keep yourself beholden to manmade rules of what is permissible or not. This was more or less the problem with the Pharisaical observance of the Sabbath. What was supposed to be for rest, something to ensure leisurely enjoyment of life and creation, became a chore. Resting was no longer restful. See the Sabbath was supposed to be gift. It was supposed to be something that could be enjoyed. It became a chore. This it does even today. Never mind the absolute ludicrousness of some who think that police and firefighters, military personnel and so forth should not work on the Sabbath. Even in the Old Testament the walls of Jerusalem were manned on the Sabbath, just as donkeys were pulled out of wells. But more insane is the idea that you can’t have fun on the Sabbath, that after church it would be improper to go to the beach, or hunt chukar in the hills, or some other thing a person might enjoy.