Sermon = The palace in time (Mark 2-3)

shabbat-candle-lighting
Sermon = The Palace in Time
Text = Mark 2:23-3:6
Sunday = 2nd Sunday after Pentecost (B)

  • *** Yet to have more does not mean to be more. The power we attain in the world of space stops suddenly at the borderline of time. But time is the heart of existence.
  • The Sabbath by Abraham Heschel
  • *** One Sabbath Jesus is going through the grainfields… They ask him, Why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? Again he enters the synagogue and a man is there with a withered hand. They watch him to see if he will cure him on the Sabbath… They go out and immediately conspire with the Herodians against Jesus how to destroy him.
  • this is the first time gospel of Mark tells us they conspire to destroy Jesus
  • *** over the Sabbath
  • not really over the Sabbath
  • but because Jesus challenges their authority to lead the people of God
  • to interpret Scripture and how to keep the instruction of the Lord
  • but the presenting issue is over the Sabbath
  • in a way Jesus gives his life and will be killed
  • because of the Sabbath

  • Bible reading < Mark 2 + 3
  • finishes first controversy section
  • when Jesus comes into conflict with religious leaders of the Jewish people at that time
  • these other stories makes several points
  • one is that Jesus is new and unique
  • the new disrupts the old
  • new wine needs new wineskins
  • Jesus is the new and decisive interpreter of Torah / the instruction of the Lord / Old Testament
  • in this story conflict is over Sabbath
  • how will people of God remember it and make it holy?
  • Jewish interpretation lists 37 things you should not do on Sabbath
  • one is reaping + threshing
  • which is exactly what disciples do when they walk through a field
  • Jesus – why do your students act against Sabbath?
  • *** this issue is important for the Jewish people
  • one of the practices that distinguishes them
  • helps them maintain cultural and religious identity
  • resist pressures of society
  • Jesus points to Torah / to Scripture
  • David and his men needed food
  • they entered the temple (!) and ate the bread of the Presence (!)
  • only priests eat this
  • the word of God allows exceptions
  • for the sake of human need
  • *** good argument
  • Jesus goes one step further and announces a larger truth
  • why does God command Sabbath keeping?
  • why does God give laws and commandments to his people?
  • for us / for our sake
  • how we share in the life of God
  • experience joy and blessing
  • another good argument
  • so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath
  • whoa – now Jesus goes too far
  • are you the Son of Man? you think you are lord of the Sabbath? you decide???
  • Mark does not tell us what they think + feel
  • we can guess from what happens next
  • this time they watch him so they can accuse him
  • *** Jesus answers not with an answer but with a question
  • which is how he responds when people try to trap him
  • he looks around angry + grieved by their stubborn resistance
  • they have a choice here
  • to be right or to see a member of the community be healed
  • this is when political opponents come together and decide they need to destroy Jesus
  • in 2018 Christians do not talk much about Sabbath keeping
  • *** that is Old Testament / we do not keep Jewish laws
  • Jesus does not throw out Sabbath keeping
  • he did not come to abolish Torah but to fulfill it
  • help people of God understand + practice it for reasons God gave it
  • we have talked about central importance of Sabbath keeping in Ten Commandments
  • Sabbath keeping is like prayer
  • anyone can do it
  • does not take big church + big budget
  • Sabbath keeping is most powerful thing Christian church can do
  • Sabbath keeping sums up + holds together every facet of Christian faith
  • we do not have strong tradition how to do this
  • we can learn from our Jewish friends
  • beginning with Jesus Christ and his disciples
  • yes we adapt + explore + reinterpret + try new ways
  • beginning with new steps
  • my favorite memories are keeping Sabbath with my friends + professors
  • Cornell is famous for being stressful
  • my Jewish friends set aside this island of peace in an ocean of stress
  • for 24 hours no homework no phone no computer no chores no nothing
  • except pray + eat + visit
  • not just not doing things
  • doing joyful things
  • walking across campus to visit student from China in his tiny one room apartment
  • acts of mercy / of healing / of welcoming people + forming relationships
  • note how Jesus frames issue of Sabbath
  • is it lawful to do good / to save life
  • keeping Sabbath does good + renews life
  • have talked + written about Sabbath
  • 26 short articles
  • let me close with image from Abraham Heschel
  • *** Meaning of Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space 6 days a week we live under tyranny of things of space. On the Sabbath we become attuned to holiness in time.
  • he describes Sabbath as a palace in time which we build
  • made of soul + joy
  • its atmosphere reminds us of eternity
  • or
  • he describes Sabbath as made of soul + joy
  • its atmosphere reminds us of eternity
  • a palace in time which we build
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About Rickwright67

I am the pastor of a Methodist church, spent 18 years ministering with internationals, as an adjunct taught Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew, husband and dad, love astronomy, space exploration, science-fiction, computers, animals, cinema, and more.
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