Saturday, January 15, 2011
One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying 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 was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:23-28
Today we took a drive up the mountain to Sandia Peak over looking Albuquerque. The sky was blue and the air was clear and we could see for miles. Although there was no snow in town, up on the mountain there was plenty, and it was much colder than down below. The air was thin at that altitude and the two of us were still getting acclimated to the altitude as my sister and brother in law took off up to the peak. When we got to where we could look over, it was stunning. A moment of extraordinary beauty and a moment of sabbath- rest and renewal, light and restoration. A break away in order to be fed and be made new. The exceptional beauty could not be overshadowed by our breathlessness or newness. It was transforming.
The Gospel reading for Saturday finds us with the disciples walking on the sabbath and feeding their hunger. The religious rulers, attentive to right behavior, were quick to criticize. How often we miss a magnificent moment of sabbath when we get anxious about the rules? How much can we humans miss when we won't go to the peak because of the challenges or lean over and take in a new way of being? We are, as humans, quick to criticize or blame, and we often miss extraordinary moments of delight and wonder. How different would that scene have been if the Pharisees ate the small, nutty grains of wheat and marvel at God's creation? How different would we all be if we invited the Lord of the sabbath into our everyday moments?
As this day comes to a close, the first day of Wintertalk, I give thanks for all the wonderful people I know who have taught me how to see the extraordinary beauty in complicated and challenging circumstances, and who have taught me to go beyond rules to relationships. May I be an instrument of God's love and compassion in the coming days together as we meet.