Pondering for Sunday, January 23, 2022

Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of the 3rd Week of Epiphany: Year C

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1st Corinthians 12:12-31a; Luke 4:14-21

“When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read:” (Luke 4:17).

Our Lord Jesus had a custom of attending the synagogue on the Sabbath. His Sabbath was intended by God to be a day of rest, and yet, the language of the Bible clearly says he, “stood up and unrolled” the reading that was handed to him. I have read where some devout rabbis won’t even turn on a light switch to see where they are going in order to do no “work” on the Sabbath. But they have no problem having a non-Jew do it. There are two issues here for me. One, as Jesus will also point out, some necessary work is okay to do even on the Sabbath. Second, there is a difference between work and worship. I still think that the gathering of people on the (Saturday or Sunday) Sabbath is an attempt by some clerics to enforce a no-work policy on that day which requires them to actually work.

Can we not learn while attending our Christian Sunday School worship, (work included), that we are to be left alone to just keep the Sabbath (Saturday) with rest and meditation?  And then as Christians, attend our Sunday services as it should also be our custom where we learn such things?  I say these things even as my own parish is closed today, Sunday, due to inclimate weather and hazardous road conditions. Jesus went to the synagogues to teach, even on the Sabbath, it was necessary work.  However I don’t think clergy, Christian or otherwise, need to micromanage our private time in prayer with God. Whenever we can, families and loved ones should have some Sabbath time together with Holy readings and prayers. While I fully realize that we all can’t always meet this way on a Saturday because some of us are first responders, medical care providers, police persons, and such. But we should come together on a true Sabbath whenever we can. The Holy Spirit of God wants to be with us on such a day. And then, on Sunday, take what we have gleaned from the Spirit to Church. We all could use some unsupervised time together in thoughts, dialogue and prayer.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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