As the Narrative Lectionary moves through Luke, we get the story of Jesus and his disciples getting in trouble for not marking the Sabbath as the Pharisees would have them do. From picking grains of wheat to healing a man with a withered hand–they get it wrong.
We live in a world where people are disputing the norms that have been in place. Thinking of the news this past week: What constitutes a “fact” (or an “alternative fact”?) and how do we determine who is allowed to report the news? What constitutes “civility” in public discourse? We are equal measure Pharisee and disciple, depending on the issue.
Where are you seeing the text take you this week?
Ideas to share? Plans for Time with the Children? Good video resources? We have our congregational meeting after worship this week, so I’m wondering if I should shake that up a bit too, or just go with what we’ve always done to make the Pharisee in my happy.
Please share your thoughts here. Blessings on all of the pondering in your heart to come in preparation for the relentless return of Sunday!
Marci Auld Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood and the Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book,There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
11 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary Leaning–following the rules”
I am wondering how we choose when the rules/traditions/practices/rituals of faith need to be followed exactly (or even slavishly?) and when they need to be massaged or bent to better serve the people of GOd. ANd so far I am thinking that equation is really hard to figure out…
Oops, meant to post a link to my early thoughts:
LikeLiked by 2 people
And the “right” answer is in the eye of the beholder. “Alternative (Sabbath) facts”?
I am really wrestling with where to go with this, but I will say that Working Preacher’s commentary was helpful and even provided a Holy Spirit moment for me when I read this:
The question lying under the Pharisees challenge to Jesus, underneath Jesus’ answer to them, and underneath Luke’s decision to include these stories in his narrative concerns faithful identity to a community’s tradition in light of ever-changing circumstances.
Just eight weeks into a new call – one where they want change…. but don’t – it is an interesting question to wrestle with, especially in light of the what is happening culturally.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It is always a struggle, isn’t it?
I also notice that this conversation is right before the beatitudes. We need a “real” sabbath before we can know our blessedness. Maybe?
In my pondering today…
Sabbath observance is not the issue it once was for Christians (by and large). And it certainly is not as central to Christian faith as it is to Judaism. So what set of rules would have the same place of honour in Christian practice? What rules would evoke the same level of reaction if they were being bent or massaged?
(cross-posting in the NL group on FB)
Honestly, for some people, taking coffee into the sanctuary might be a violation of rules.
(I’m sure that’s not a helpful answer).
Our congregation has started being more intentional about taking days of Sabbath. And it isn’t the “rules” that are difficult so much as it is the discipline of stopping work. There’s always so much to do. I find it hard to let it wait for the next day.
I’m thinking of framing the text in terms of what I call the Law of Love (love God, love your neighbor). Many of the laws in the Hebrew Bible are based on this, although sometimes it’s hard to see. It’s easy to get caught up in what seem like inane rules and lose the intent of the Law. What if the Church stopped freaking out over attendance (I admit I freak out about it sometimes, too!) and started being Christ out in the world, wherever we find people longing to be loved? How might we be vehicles of healing and transformation? We can dis the Pharisees for being ticked off at Jesus for how he chose to live out the Sabbath; but don’t we do the same when we see fewer people in worship and more in Walmart on Sunday mornings? The text seems like a perfect lens for reshaping our understanding of law through the lens of the Gospel. As a Lutheran, Law and Gospel are at the heart of how we understand and proclaim Scripture.
Our congregational annual meeting is this week. We are announcing two new things: a Saturday worship dinner church style for people who can’t be in church on Sundays for whatever reason, and, hopefully for those who are open to a different way of doing church together. We are also announcing a new ministry where we will prepare and take dinner to a local underserved neighborhood 1 mile from our church – and few of us even know they are there. We will eat together, share our lives, and, perhaps, pray together. We have no idea where this will go, but feel called to share the love and feed hungry bellies and hungry hearts.
LikeLiked by 1 person
So, I have my message done – but I am stumped when it comes to the Children’s message – any ideas you ae willing to share?
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m still not sure what I’m doing either. Have you ever used Dollar Store Children’s Sermons? Maybe they have something?