Scripture: Mark 2:23-3:6
Key verses: (27-28) “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Reflection: I grew up in a family that observed the Sabbath. We couldn’t do anything on Sunday except go to church, come home and eat lunch together. No stores were open, so we couldn’t shop. Movie theaters, grocery stores and every other kind of business were closed. The TV was turned off. What a relief when I was old enough for youth group! I could get out of the house and do something! Even going back to the church was better than being stuck at home. When I grew up and was finally out on my own, I realized that the Sabbath was meant to be observed as a gift from God — a day to enjoy family and friends and take a break from the everyday routine of work. It was a day for building a relationship with God and others by focusing on things other than work or other obligations. So, I began to look forward to the Sabbath as a break from the routine.
In Ancient Israel there were strict religious laws regarding the Sabbath. Keeping the Sabbath was a way to honor God. However, like any rule, human beings had a way of distorting the original purpose. In our passage today, Jesus is criticized because his disciples were picking grains of wheat as they walked along. To the Pharisees, who were determined to find fault, this was considered work and a violation of the law. They were determined to be set apart from the culture around them. In the secular culture of the Roman Empire, all days were alike. There was no day of rest. It was a 24/7 culture. Sound familiar?
The everyday obligations of life continue to call out to us — work, school, social media, you name it. We are afraid to disconnect, even for one day, because we might miss something. In the end, we can easily miss the Sabbath and forget to take time to build relationships and celebrate being with our friends and family. We forget to rest.
How do you spend the Sabbath? How would you like to spend the Sabbath?
Prayer: Loving God, we give thanks for the gift of the seventh day you created for us. May we use the Sabbath to rest in you, give thanks for friends and family, build relationships and show compassion and love to our neighbors. Help us give thanks for this wonderful gift. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].