Today we hear about the importance of the Sabbath and the times that Jesus healed on this special day for the Jewish community.
All religions have rules and regulations to follow. Personally, I believe that is the difference between faith and religion. We like things ordered and in strict boundaries or rules. That is what religion is, faith is belief and there are not too many rules and regulations. In our reading today Jesus comes up against the rules and regulations placed on the Jewish people by their religious leaders versus compassion and love for people.
We have two situations, one where the disciples are walking through a field and they pull some heads of wheat, ground them between their hands and then eat the resulting flour. The disciples must have really been hungry because rolling some grain between your hands and eating it is not exactly the most delicious meal you can imagine. The second, a healing, finds us back in a synagogue where Jesus is approached by a man with a withered hand. The decision that Jesus makes here is to heal the man rather than worry about the rules.
Jesus is not one to let the rules get in the way of caring for the people who come to him. Just because it is declared a day of rest, to the extent that no one is allowed to do anything, including preparing food, doesn’t mean that people are ignored. For many years Christians have considered Sunday to be our Sabbath, our day of rest. There used to be a time when shops were closed, the focus was on family and church, there was no social media, no sport, in fact there were very few distractions that would take us away from rest.
Today things are different. We really have no set day of rest or Sabbath. You could say that basically we operate on a 24/7 calendar these days. I wonder what is important here? A particular day, a concept of rest and renewal, or the greater importance of rules and regulations over people and their lives?
Our theme for this week is “Every day is an opportunity to proclaim me”. No matter what day it is – work or rest – we all have the opportunity to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God every day of our lives. We make these proclamations in all that we do every day of our lives. Our actions speak louder than the rules and regulations that can be placed around us. Our opportunities to proclaim God are endless.