The word βιβλοσ means book so THE HOLY BIBLE is THE BOOK set aside by God for the specific God given purpose of communicating God’s pure, unaltered, unadulterated Word to us. Holy Baptism, is the Sacrament set aside by God for the specific God given purpose of washing away our sins, giving us new and eternal life, and making us citizens of God’s eternal Kingdom. Holy Communion is the Sacrament set aside by God for the specific God given purpose of giving us the opportunity for Jesus to share Himself with us in the closest of all Divine with human communions in temporal life. In Holy Matrimony, the God given purpose is to bless a man and a woman entering into the most foundational and meaningful of all human to human relationships. The God given purpose of The Holy Trinity is to reveal God and accomplish God’s purposes in ways that human beings can understand and believe in.
In a word, they are all divine gifts from God Himself. How then do we keep these gifts holy. The ancient rabbis had an excellent answer when they wrote “the highest form of gratitude is the use of the gift”.
Returning to our Gospel text, we find Jesus and His disciples going through the grain fields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.
In other Biblical passages, we are made aware of the fact that Jesus and His disciples spent every Sabbath in the synagogue or in the Temple - so we may assume that was where they were heading. It is early in the morning and they are hungry so as they walk through the grain fields, they casually pluck the heads of grain.
According to the Pharisees, as the disciples pluck the heads of grain, they are harvesting a crop. As they crush the grain in their hands, they are preparing a meal. As they lick the flour, they are eating a meal prepared on the Sabbath. And the Pharisees said to Jesus, "Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?"
Although God will visit this Sabbath question a number of times during His years as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ - usually when He is accused of unlawfully healing people on the Sabbath - the answer He gives to the Pharisees in our text goes to the very heart and meaning of Sabbath - "The Sabbath was made for humanity, and not humanity for the Sabbath." When we worship we are not doing something for God – God is doing something for us.
We keep The Sabbath holy when we use the gift to bless and enrich the lives we are living in the Presence of God. The cafeteria Christian grabs the appetizer and never even finds out what’s in the entrée. The meal goes uneaten and even unobserved.
The first Christians were Israelites and they worshiped regularly in their local synagogue on the day we call Saturday. The Christians also felt the need to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection every Sunday so as they completed a full day of work, they gathered for a potluck dinner, read Scripture and heard from people who had known Jesus personally. The service ended with Holy Communion. When the Christians were expelled from the synagogues, they combined the Saturday synagogue service and Sunday Easter service and Sunday became their day of worship.
Sabbath is a Hebrew word which means "time of rest". All living things - including plants and animals - have a sabbath component to their lives. Do not we human beings - created in the Image of God with a soul and a God-centered spiritual dimension to our lives - have a greater need for sabbath than the plants and non-human animals?
Wayne Muller reminds us that "Sabbath is more than the absence of work; it is a day when we partake of the wisdom, peace, and delight that grow only in the soil of time -- The Sabbath gives us the permission we need to restore our souls."¹
A number of years ago I lead a group tour through a huge salt mine. In one of the deepest sections of that mine there is an underground stable where mules are housed. Those mules which were born and raised in the mine are all totally blind. Through their lack of use, their eyes no longer work. I was reminded of that visit recently when I read an article about a stranger who, passing a mine, asked a little boy why the field was so full of mules. "These mules are worked in the mine during the week," replied the boy, "and are brought up into the light on Sunday to keep them from going blind." The application is apparent. Do not allow yourself to go spiritually blind. Come to church each Sunday and let the light of God's Word into your heart.
Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for humanity, and not humanity for the Sabbath; so The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus is The Lord of the Sabbath which God has made to satisfy the most basic of human needs and Jesus always uses Sabbath to truly bless and enrich our lives - as Sabbath was created and given to us by God.
In Christ, we are blessed to live our lives on Sundays as Sabbath days and daily in Sabbath moments – to pray publicly each Sunday morning - privately and in family settings the rest of the week – to hear God's Word proclaimed on Sunday and to study The Word privately and in family settings Sunday and every day – to take spiritual rest breaks where we step back quietly to hear the Word of God in your life.
Take time to rest and commune with The Lord – to celebrate all God has done for us and the relationship God has established with us. It’s all a wonderful gift
As Jesus told His disciples and the Pharisees, “The Sabbath was made for humanity, and not humanity for the Sabbath” – a wonderful gift to put all of human life in perspective.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS - OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR. AMEN.
2nd Sunday of The Trinity Season
June 3, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio