Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sabbath Lessons

Few verses of scripture have changed me, compelled me, and even haunted me over the last twenty years as Mark 2:27. Jesus declared, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." It rocked my spiritual world long ago, and it continues to do it today. If something so central to Jewish thinking, and such an intricate part of the Law - hey, it's one of the original TEN - can be declared by Jesus to be a tool to use not a ceremony to perform or a sacrament to meticulously follow, how did we ever allow things he gave us as tools, to help us grow in love and build spiritual relationship, to become "acts of worship," rules to follow, and rituals to be obeyed? And we took those very same things, and made them tests of faith, symbols of truth, and defining elements of discipleship!
Back in the 1970's I first discovered that what I'd always been taught about worship just flat wasn't in the New Testament. Worship is a life given in sacrifice to God. The Christian assembly/fellowship is simply an equipping and encouraging event. There's no formal worship, no holy time or place, and no day that's not "the Lord's day." It rattled everything I thought, believed, and preached. We are not - must not- be defined by our assembly, but by our passion for living for Jesus!
It has been a huge soul-quake again for me to look at all the things God has given us to help us grow - as tools, not acts, rituals, patterns, or laws to obey, but tools to help us help each other grow in Christ. This paradigm shift is incredible because I've started to see things he have us as resources, possibilities, options, and choices He has gaven us to use to build a deeper relationship with Him.
If you want to have fun - I mean a real spiritual, tradition busting, mind-bending, eye-opening - experience, just write out Mark 2:27 and leave blanks where the word "Sabbath" should be. Now go back and place any of God's tools in those blanks and listen to how it sound. Here's an example. The Lord's Supper was made for man, not man for the Lord's Supper.
It may not change what your church family will do during communion next Sunday, but it should change the way you think about what you're doing when it takes place. Jesus was providing us with a tool to use not a ritual to perform!
Go ahead - fill in the blanks, and see what it says to you.

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