Invitation to Worship
To be connected to God’s presence, you are invited to settle into the stillness. Slowly, ever so slowly, center your mind and your heart. Let your cares and your weariness fall away. Enter deeply into silence. Be one with the universe, one with the sun and the stars, one with the One who is Mystery, who created the heavens and the earth. Pause to observe a time of silent prayer and reflection.
I am one with the One who is Mystery, the one who created me and loves me, and whose Spirit lives in me. Amen.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
One sabbath he 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.
Questions for Reflection
This passage illustrates that the Pharisees and Jesus pay attention to different things. The former is concerned about law, while the latter is concerned about people. What concerns do we place above people? What do we risk when we put people above the law?
When confronted by the law of the Sabbath, Jesus gives the Pharisees a different interpretation. What laws do you believe might be re-interpreted in this same spirit? How would you explain your interpretation to those who stand by its standard interpretation?
God of many names, Lover of all peoples, we pray for peace; in our hearts, in our homes, in our nations, in our world, the peace of your will, the peace of our need. Amen.
As you leave this moment of worship, remember: God will be with you wherever you go. At work or play, at home or on vacation: God is with you wherever you are. Whether you are happy or sad, on your own, or with our friends, God is with you, however you are. So, go with joy, for God goes with you. Amen!