Two of our Scripture readings today focus on the Sabbath. In Deuteronomy 5:12-15, God commands God’s people to “observe the sabbath day and keep it holy.” In Mark 2:23-3:6, Jesus stirs controversy among the religious authorities on two separate occasions because of his actions on the Sabbath. Is Jesus following God’s command to keep the Sabbath when he feeds the hungry and heals the suffering? In what ways?
Reading these texts alongside each other helps us to reflect on our own practices of Sabbath keeping.
God rested after God made creation; therefore, you and I can and should take time to rest and reflect. God freed God’s people from slavery in Egypt; therefore you and I should keep the Sabbath holy. God did not free God’s people from slavery in Egypt only to have God’s people fall under submission to other slave masters. Even when you and I think we are free and independent in whatever sociopolitical or cultural context we are in, we can and do still become slaves to forces that are not of God. Does this ring true for you? Do the demands of work and societal pressures dominate your life?
What would it look like to organize your life with God – not work, not family, not chores – at the center?
If you already have a practice of Sabbath keeping, are you aware of the ways it affects your neighbor? God commands all of creation to keep the Sabbath – the animals in our households, our neighbors, the resident aliens in our land. What would it look like for you to live your life so that your neighbor can also keep the Sabbath?