We are only in the second chapter of Mark and the people who object to the actions and teachings of Jesus are already "conspiring to destroy him." Jesus allows his disciples to pick grain heads on the sabbath and heals an individual's withered hand, also on the sabbath - just pissing off the temple leaders.
We hear from Mark today that Jesus looked at these leaders, was angry and he was grieved. Grieved at their hardness of heart which was based upon their strict understanding of what was allowable and not allowable on the sabbath. The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath, Jesus says today.
These folks with whom Jesus was interacting were stuck, enslaved really, in their interpretation of the law: a human-made law, passed down through generations, based on a belief and understanding of what God desires for us. The sabbath was made for humankind... made for us to rest and remember. Not something mandated and meant to be burdensome.
This account we have today should help us examine that to which we are enslaved. To what are we wedded because we believe it is God's will? Are we putting God in a box by doing so? Are we giving more credence to our own biases and/or desires, than being open to the wideness that is God's grace and love?
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Christopher and Scott's Blessing Service, 2011.