Daily Office Readings for Thursday of Proper 10, Year 1
“Then he [Jesus], said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath: (Mark 2:27).
Our Readings for today are very active with loads of stuff to ponder. And while I an intrigued with the saga of David and Jonathan; and the name changes in the Acts of the Apostles, that is, Simon to Niger; Bar-Jesus to Elymas; and of course, Saul to Paul, I am comforted by our Lord Jesus’ words about the priority of humankind over the Sabbath in our Gospel Reading for today. We were first. Then as a gift to us, God gave us the Sabbath as a day of rest and reconciliation.
Rest is important. We need to know when to be quiet. David did. He could not be reconciled with Saul, so he followed the advice of Jonathan who loved him and he left only to return at a later time. Jacob did this in Genesis when he could not be reconciled with his twin brother Esau. Moses did this when he could not be reconciled with the Egyptians after the killing of an Egyptian. At some point we will find the wherewithal to return to what drove us off. We will reconcile with what was thought to be irreconcilable. This reconciliation includes the time interval God has given to us for being quiet.
I know a young man who is running away from troubles in his state of residence to live here in North Carolina. The problem is that until he squares himself with the authorities in his home state, North Carolina will not assist him with a driver’s license, voter registration, or even substantial employment. The stories of reconciliation are the old stories of the Bible. The greatest reconciliation we can engage in is our reconciliation with God. And God has given us the Sabbath as the divine opportunity to do just that.
Our Lord Jesus explains that because God wants to have a pathway whereby we can “come back,” to God, we have been given the Sabbath. It is a contemplative time, not so much for gathering and chatter, but rather for solitude and simplicity. It is a time for finding a quiet place in order that we might focus on God and ourselves. This is why it is perfectly okay to do good works on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is not a restriction on our life but rather the freeing of it.
Our Sabbath begins tomorrow evening. Our Lord Jesus never separated us from the traditional Sabbath, which he himself set aside and kept. Let us be at peace and be reconciled back to God.
Let us live to love, rather than just live to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John