June 11, 2023
We all know that it can be really hard to make a difference at times. The challenges that we see, such as homelessness, are huge and we are only one person and so how on earth can we make a difference?
Most of the time it seems the only way we can make a difference is to join with others who think the same as we do, have the same passions, and work together on the issue that is right before us, calling for attention, trying to do something to fix the problem. This is working for.
Our reading today outlines a time when the disciples are hungry and so they take some grain from a field and ground it in their hands in order to eat it. It also tells of a man with a withered hand who meets Jesus in the synagogue and is healed. Now the fact that both of these stories happen on the Sabbath is the key feature here.
As most of us know, the Jewish people have very strict rules around the Sabbath, what can and cannot be done. They can’t do any work, they can’t use technology or drive cars, they can’t cook or do laundry, or mow the lawn. And this is just to name a few of the “cant’s”. So, you can imagine the outrage of the Jewish religious leaders of the day when they see the disciples picking heads of grain – they were working, harvesting the crop. Then there was the fact that Jesus actually healed a man on the sabbath!
Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees was something along the lines of “the sabbath is made for humans and not humans for the sabbath”. This gives us an image of the space and time to stop and honour God, to rest, just as God rested on day 7 of creation, is an important part of our lives, but it is not something that dictates our behaviour. If we cannot care for the people and things around us because of rules restricting that on a certain day, there should be some questions asked. The sabbath is supposed to be there, working for us.
It is extremely important to work to better the world around us and the situations that bring injustice, poverty, discrimination, loneliness, and separation. It is part of what we do as followers of Christ – stand up and speak, or help, or work for those who can’t. So, working for is an important part of Christian mission, the challenge Rev Sam Wells gives us is how much should we be working for rather than being with. What’s the split?