Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Pentecost 2B

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

12Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.

Mark 2:23—3:6

23One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?" 25And he said to them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions." 27Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

3:1Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come forward." 4Then he said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. 5He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Last week we celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity; now the church's year of grace moves into six months of Ordinary Time, the Green and Growing Time Season of the Spirit, Time of the Church, when the church comes into her own as we continue following the Crucified and Risen Jesus Christ as his presence in the world. Wherever we go. We'll be counting or numbering Sundays after the Day of Pentecost. Today is Pentecost 2.

Ordinary time refers to structure and organization, not to its being common and mundane, though it does have a sense of "commonality" because everyone shares in it.

Today we're back in Mark's gospel this revised common lectionary year B features all year long. Two of our readings – the first reading from the Hebrew scriptures and the gospel account – related to the commandment to observe Sabbath rest. We find the commandments in both Exodus and Deuteronomy. Today we read from Deuteronomy, when God through Moses tells us everyone needs Sabbath or intentional rest (not laziness!) because God freed us, liberated us, from the burden of working under the often unreasonable demands of empires and other bosses of all kinds. With a different focus, the Sabbath commandment in the book of Exodus explains we need Sabbath rest in imitation of God because as we labor along faithfully to claim that imago dei [divine image], some of our work imitates divine creativity, almost all of everyone's work contributes to the realization of God's new creation. As we frequently discuss, sometimes our sabbath/rest needs to be at times other than the historical biblical Sabbath day of Saturday or the Lord's Day Sunday many Christians set apart as a day of worship and rest.

Pastor Peg pointed out how wonderful God tells us everyone needs Sabbath rest—guests, strangers, animals—the land, as we read elsewhere in scripture. We spent a few minutes discussing the Mark passage about the religious leaders, Jesus, and Jesus healing on the Sabbath in order to free the guy with the withered hand to do the work he needed to do to be a contributing member of society and probably provide for his family.

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