Monday, May 16, 2011

To Do Good

One sabbath while Jesus was going through the cornfields, his disciples plucked some heads of grain, rubbed them in their hands, and ate them. But some of the Pharisees said, ‘Why are you doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?’ Jesus answered, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions?’ Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’ On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come and stand here.’ He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?’ After looking around at all of them, he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. Luke 6:1-11

Living with my mother again has opened my eyes to people's assumptions and misunderstandings. My mother was in a bible study recently and they were talking about people being hungry in the passage they studied. The group leader said something about none of the group had ever been hungry. My mother piped up and said she had. She told them the story of the growing up during the Dust-bowl in Oklahoma and being starving. She told them of destitute times during the Depression and how anxious and scared it made her family. Even after her story they thought she wasn't telling the truth. Because they could never imagine themselves in that kind of need, they would not allow themselves to accept that one of their own had been in such circumstances.

Jesus fed his disciples with what they had, which was often very little. There are no prohibitions about eating on the Sabbath, just that the food can not be prepared and work cannot be done on the Sabbath. The religious authorities wanted Jesus and his crew to go by the rules. They could not imagine one of their own would be in such circumstances that they would have to make do with what they had, and keep one another from staring, sabbath or no sabbath. They could not imagine it for themselves and so they did not allow it for anyone else. How often we judge before we put ourselves in others shoes. And how often we are invited by God to put love first and rules second.

Today, I want to always do good, putting love at the forefront of every day. Not being lead by correct behavior or social attitudes, but rather by the impulse of love and compassion. I want to do good for those in need knowing that God abides in the action of compassion and that grace flourishes in the sharing of hearts and hands.

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