Deuteronomy 5:12-15 

Psalm 81:1-10 

2 Corinthians 4:5-12 

Mark 2:23-28 

“All for our sake” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

Many of you may have grown up with parents that regularly  gave you a healthy dose Vitamin N throughout your lives; N as in  “No”. You ask for something and your mother or father would,  from your perspective, unreasonably tell you that they would not  allow you to do or receive said thing. Now I say unreasonable  because we were just kids and could not understand. It is only  when we grow up that we come to realize the love of our parents  through the copious no’s we have received. 

Can I have a cookie from the cookie jar? No, you will ruin  your appetite before supper. Well that is unreasonable, cookies  taste good, so they must be good to eat and it appears that my  parents are starving me by telling me I can’t eat these delicious  treats. This is a perspective a kid might have, trying to rationalize  the desire of their sweet tooth. Of course, adults would definitely  understand why eating treats before supper is not ideal and why it  is perfectly reasonable to tell their children no in this respect. This  is but a simple example, and there are many more less humorous  examples of Vitamin N: don’t smoke, don’t hang out with that  crowd, no games until after you do all your homework and  studied, don’t be away from home after a certain time, no 

sleepovers with the opposite gender, no allowance until you do  this or that, etc. 

All of this is done because your parents truly care for you,  the copious amounts of no to all the things you want to do.  Growing up, my mother was such a person to me and I thank her  for the strict parenting I received. Her goal was to raise a  respectable adult. Compared to her parenting I have seen  multiple grown kids that act like complete spoiled brats who whine  and give temper tantrums and mentally manipulates whenever  they don’t get what they want. Usually I notice that they were not  raised with a healthy dose of Vitamin N. Many are adults now, but  to me they still act like children, thin skinned, malicious, and ill prepared when they find out that they are not the center of the  universe. 

From a Christian perspective, we are all still children,  incapable by our own desires to act in a spiritually mature fashion.  We are in constant need of the Word and Holy Spirit to feed us  soft foods and liquids for one we cannot feed ourselves and two  we are not ready for solid food. This is imagery that Paul uses  multiple times. Another way of putting this is, because we are  sinners we cannot function by ourselves in a way befitting a holy  life. We can’t help but sin, let alone work ourselves towards  salvation. There is a reason why Jesus came to die on the cross  to save us from our sins. Yet, through Christ, we are still children,  and like all children, we need a guardian to guide us and teach us  and provide for us sinners a healthy dose of Vitamin N. And that  dosage comes in the form of the Law.

There are many reasons why we have the Law. To point out  what is sinful, to point us to our sins and expose that we are  sinners which is something to dread over, and to point us towards  Christ who is the source of our Forgiveness. Now many people  absolutely hate the first reason why we have the Law, to point out  what is sinful, but then again what toddler likes it when a parent  tells them quite forcefully, “No!” Now just like a good parent,  because God the Father is also good, in fact the source of what is  good and should truly be the example we should use in what  good parenting looks like, He provides us a list of do nots. He  does not do this out of ill-will or hatred or whimsicalness. He  provides the Law out of love. A child does not know what is good  and bad, thus they need a parent to teach them this. The same  goes for us spiritual infants, for we cannot comprehend morality  and will always depend on God to give us the template, aka the  Law, to help us truly understand what is good and what is sin. He  gave us the Law so that we would know how to walk a healthy life  style. 

The Law was given to us all for our sake. God didn’t force it  down on us like some evil tyrant who orders his subjects to do this  or that. And the Law wasn’t given in such a way that we would get  thrown into Hell because we disobeyed it. Instead the Law, which  existed since the beginning of time, was given to illuminate for us  that which was already considered good and what was already  considered bad. Thus we don’t go to Hell because we disobey the  Law per se, but because we act in a manner that the Law is trying  to warn us will always lead us towards Hell. The Law is good, it  warns us of bad behavior and guides us towards good behavior,  all for our sake. In fact the only reason why perceive the Law as 

bad and a curse is because we are sinners and can’t help but  keep on sinning despite the fact that the Law warns us of such  sins. This is why many come to hate the Law, because their guilty  conscience is getting attacked by the Law which was designed  not to damn but lead us towards the only healthy life style. 

Now, one such habit of a healthy life style, provided for us by  God, is to keep the Sabbath day holy. Like the Law, the Sabbath  was designed for humans, given to us by God as a gift out of love,  all for the sake of directing us toward a healthier life style befitting  a mature Christian. And like Jesus said, Man was not created for  the Sabbath but that the Sabbath was created for Man. 

So if the Sabbath was created for Man then what purpose  does it serve? Quite simply, it was made to encourage  recharging. Men were not created capable of working each and  every day without getting tired physically, mentally, nor spiritually.  Eventually we all need a rest so that we can recharge and keep  on working. A man who works six days a week and rests on the  seventh will always be more productive, happier, focused,  energized, and stable than the one who works all days of the  week. In fact, all things eventually finds rest, either due to strain  and your body or mind forces you to slow down, or unfortunately  due to death. Having a day of rest, a day to relax and recoup, will  always be important. God knew this, so in the Laws he provided  us the instructed necessity to stop one day out of seven and to  reflect on God who is the source of life. So who better can  recharge you than God himself, most especially through Word  and Sacrament?

On Sunday, we rest and come to church so that as one  congregation, a communion of saints, may worship together to  receive and proclaim as one body, the Word and the Sacraments,  both of which Christ is truly present. Thus we literally are  receiving Christ, and it is this receiving that gives us the strength,  not just spiritually, but also mentally and bodily, to work all the  other days of the week. 

Now some may say why the 6 to 1 ratio? Why not once a  month or once a year? Why is it once a week? Does not God  know all the hairs on your head? Is He not the source of all  knowledge and wisdom? And is not the supposed fooliest of God  wiser than the wisest of men? He said once a week, because he  knew this was the perfect ratio. He even lead us by example by  creating for six days and then resting on the seventh. If God  rested on the seventh, and if we lowly humans are much lesser  than our creator, then I believe once a week should be  satisfactory for us humans as well. 

But so that the Pharisees of today’s times don’t abuse the  Law, understand this: the Sabbath was made for us so that we do  not needlessly tire ourselves out, believing in false narcissistic  notions such as the might and wisdom of humans. Because of  this, it is perfectly alright for me and all other pastors to lead  worship on the Sabbath day for your sake, it is perfectly alright to  care for the needy such as David did on the Sabbath, it is alright  to feed your animals, your family, and yourself as food is  necessary to live, and it is most certainly alright to worship on the  Sabbath day.

Again the point of the Sabbath is to promote a healthy life  style that lifts up Life, and of course the only way to truly  accomplish this is by receiving Christ who is the source of Life. 

As you come to the altar table today remember this, the  Sabbath was made for man so you can be filled with new life  through Word and Sacrament. Thus Communion, like the  Sabbath, was made for man to fill you with Life, to fill you with  Christ who is the source of Life. 

Let us pray, 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, out of kindness for your most  precious creation you instructed us the importance of the  Sabbath, not chaining us to the Sabbath but creating it as a  service for us so that we may receive the necessary portions of  Life which can only come from you in Word and Sacrament in  order to sustain us the rest of the week, bodily, mentally, and  spiritually. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy  Spirit. Amen.

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