Observing the Sabbath
Observing the Sabbath is the theme in Sunday’s reading. In Deut. 5:12-15 God commands people to rest, not work, on the Sabbath because God saved them from slavery in Egypt. When we come to the Gospel lesson Mark 2:23-28, the Pharisees catch Jesus’ disciples plucking some heads of grain to eat. “Ah ha! Caught you workin’ Jesus.” Jesus reminds them that the Sabbath was a day for the benefit of people, not that the people should be slaves of Sabbath rules. Jesus declares that he is Lord of the Sabbath, not the Pharisees. Uh oh. Big trouble ahead.
But for those of who will mount a pulpit on Sunday, St. Paul reminds us of what is important. “What we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.” It’s not about us preachers, it’s about Christ and it’s about the people who will hear us. There is a tension every time I craft a sermon. I want to make it about Christ in a way that is both helpful and interesting. I want to give the folks something to take home. That is, a visual of Christ which will stick with them for at least awhile and to do it in a way that does not bring attention to the clay jar (that’s me) which contains the treasure of the Gospel, but to the Gospel treasure. 2 Corinthians 4:5-7.