Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 339: Nahum 2; Psalm 125; Mark 3

A Withered Hand on the Sabbath
Who has access to healing? Rather, who has access to God?

The difficulty many people have with faith institutions is that too often our humanity fosters barriers that God has not put in place...or that we choose to impose interpretations on God's commandments that exclude, even vilify, those for whom God has in other places in scripture expressed a particular fondness. The poor, the halt, the lame, the "unpretty" or "unacceptable" folks are the ones God is aware of and intent upon. How we treat each other in the midst of these differences is something to which God pays particular attention.

A man approaches Jesus in the synagogue, on the Sabbath. He is visibly crippled, with a withered hand. The young rabbi has a reputation for healings, conrtoversial ones at that. What will he do? Let's watch and find out...not to learn more from him or about this kingdom he is preaching about, rather to see if he will break conventions, the rules. Will we be able to catch him out?

A simple question: "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?"

What would your answer be? What happens to our conventions and assumptions when the "right" answer is not the "correct" answer?

For the Pharisees in the synagogue that day, the response was to withdraw and work with the Herodians to take Jesus down. Rather than accept his provocation as an invitation to open up their personal interpretations of the Law and the Prophets, they choose instead to work on ways to remove him as a challenge to the status quo...

...and the question remained unanswered. It is left for us and our response...

What would your answer be?

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