Good Shepherd Lutheran

Take A Rest – Mark 2:23-3:6
Wouldn’t that be convenient if we could just drop the Sabbath altogether, seeing how busy we all are? We’d sure get a lot more accomplished if we didn’t have to go to church. Maybe we could even get in an extra round of golf.
But look through the Gospels. Jesus never once dismisses the Sabbath or says that it’s something we can ignore. Instead, He bursts in to liberate the Sabbath from the clutches of the Pharisees. He bursts in to reframe the Sabbath and to help us all remember what it’s really all about.
Many of us are like those Israelites. We’re caught up in work with our eyes so focused on the grindstone that we don’t see God’s good gift of the Sabbath right in front of us. Our sense of self, our self-importance and our anxieties about all the things that we need to get done, distract us from the truth. We’ve been set free by the Sabbath. It’s a commandment that reminds us of our liberation from that fiction we tell ourselves. The one that says that everything depends on us.
This is hardly an authoritarian commandment, it’s a blessing. The Sabbath that we learn about from Jesus is free from the restrictions the Pharisees so gleefully imposed. Instead, it comes with commands like ‘take and eat’. Be nourished and strengthened, like the disciples wandering through the wheat field. It comes with commands like ‘be healed’, like that man with the withered hand in the synagogue.
On the Sabbath Jesus tells us: “Be healed of your afflictions. Be healed of stress. Be healed of the despair that says you’ll never get it all done.” On the Sabbath, Jesus says: “Don’t worry, I’ve got it under control.” Of course, He says that every day of the week, but it’s the Sabbath that allows us to cultivate the discipline of acknowledging this truth. To put things down in the knowledge that things will be okay because they’re out of our control and safe in Jesus’ hands.
For us, the Sabbath is still a disruption. It’s a weekly breaking in of God’s grace that’s sufficient to liberate us from our self-importance, our busy schedules, and our anxieties. The Sabbath is a breaking in of a tantalizing foretaste of a new economy. The economy of the Kingdom of God that’s free of stress, anxiety and work without rest.
When was the last time we allowed the Sabbath to be a disruption for us? Death may come to those who break the Sabbath, but life comes to those who keep it. Because of the grace of God, we can put down the tools of our trade whether they’re laptops, hammers or textbooks. We can stretch out, relax, and recharge, meditating on the grace of the economy of the Kingdom of God.
So, flaunt that grace in the face of the workaholic economy. Stretch out in God’s everlasting arms and take a rest.