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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today’s Reading | Mark 2:23–3:6

One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He 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.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then 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. He 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. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (NRSV)


Something I appreciate most about Jesus was his thoughtfulness. You get a sense in reading stories about him that his own thoughts and actions have been considered carefully. Even though he is consistently being challenged by the world around him, he does not need to be reactive to the world around him. He takes account of what is going on around him and considers a statement or action that reflects what he believes.

Jesus is often characterized as a “sabbath breaker,” but this passage reminds us that Jesus took the idea of sabbath quite seriously. We see it in the times when he goes apart from his disciples to pray; we see it when he studies in the temple; and we see it when he reminds his disciples, in this passage, that “the sabbath was made for humans.”

How many of us might be able to completely revolutionize our lives by remembering the sabbath? It doesn’t need to mean doing nothing on Sundays. What about taking just ten minutes of time for quiet, prayer, or meditation before entering another busy, loud, stressful day? Might we, more like Jesus, learn how to communicate with the challenging people and situations in our lives in ways that are a bit more . . . thoughtful.


Try to find a time today to take ten minutes for silence. Set a timer so that you don’t look at the clock. If busy thoughts and to-do lists creep in, do not feel as if you’ve failed—acknowledge that they are there, and set them aside again. If you would like a thought to focus on, repeat slowly to yourself, “The Sabbath was made for humans . . .” If it doesn’t work out today, try again tomorrow.

Written by Adam H. Fronczek, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Worship

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