Sermon - June 6

THE FIRST LESSON: Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lordyour God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.

Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.

THE SECOND LESSON: 2 Corinthians 4:5-12

We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.

THE GOSPEL FOR THE DAY: Mark 2:23--3:6

The holy gospel according to Saint Mark. Glory to you, O Lord.

One sabbath [Jesus] 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.

The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

SERMON “Gift of the Sabbath” Pastor Phil Wold

Reading of First lesson by Susan Baker

Quotes from Matthew Skinner

In this pair of scenes, Jesus does not assail Judaism. He does not reject the law. He does not render the sabbath obsolete. He does not even call the Pharisees blind guides or a pack of [fools]. A sermon on the passage should not do those things, either.

[we] should note the way in which disagreement about living within the law quickly escalates into hostility, a hostility that will eventually lead some — but certainly not all — of the most powerful religious authorities to seek Jesus’ debasement and death.

…Even as the passage emphasizes a commitment to life and vitality abiding at the heart of God’s reign, it also illustrates how religious commitments and values — any religious commitments and values — can ossify and turn oppressive in the hands of careless stewards. None are immune.

And from Barbara brown Taylor

While Mishnah and Talmud go into great detail about what may or may not be done on the sabbath, Torah is very straightforward: you shall not do any work. The key, for me, was freedom from compulsion. One day a week, "should," "ought" and "must" had no power over me. On Sundays I did not worship the clock, the dollar or my superego. I worshiped God instead, whom I trusted to run the world for one day without my help.

…its effect was immediate. Relationships became more spacious. Prayer became more spacious. Time itself became more spacious. …There was never enough time to get everything done, but I finally understood there never would be. There would only be enough time to live, with as much gratitude as I could muster.

Now Lent is over, and sabbath remains. My hold on it feels so tenuous. Week by week, I am so tempted to worship other gods, whose first requirement of me is that I relinquish my holy freedom. Week by week, I keep reaching for the gift God has offered me. — the one human beings are so reluctant to accept that God made it a commandment.

one more paragraph from BBT:

For 7 miles I had the road to myself. Then I roared up behind a red sports utility vehicle that was traveling significantly below the speed limit. The driver, who was all alone, was sipping a cup of something hot enough to steam in the cool morning air. As I rode his bumper, he admired the mountain view with one elbow propped on his open window. All I could see was the solid yellow line that forbade me to pass him. He slowed down a little when he saw the Holstein cows circling the old Indian mound. As he turned his face toward them, I could see him smiling in his side rear-view mirror. Finally he pulled over to read a historical marker and I zoomed past him, wondering who was doing a better job of observing the sabbath.