March 30, 2011


Yesterday's post was number 1,000 at draughting theology. That boggles my mind.  I didn't know it was #1K as I wrote it, but perhaps subconsciously my mind was already boggled when I wrote that Jesus' healing of the MBB wasn't on the sabbath.

Of course it was. That's the big freakin' deal. Jesus broke the commandment to keep the sabbath holy so he can't be from God so the healing is a huge huge problem.

I've been trying to consider how many ways Jesus broke the sabbath. 1- he and his disciples surely walked more than the allowable sabbath day travel distance = WORK. 2- he made mud - WORK (I guess). 3- he sent the MBB to the Pool of Siloam which is probably more than the allowable sabbath day travel distance - CAUSING SOMEONE ELSE TO WORK. 4- he healed a guy = THAT'S GOTTA BE WORK. 5- he disappeared into thin air when everybody started debating the issue of the sabbath = magic = WORK.

I think that is all the text gives us. Jesus broke the sabbath in at least 5 different ways. Part of the job of the Pharisees was to massage the commandments to make them make sense in everyday life.  Take, for example, the sabbath. If your donkey fell into a ditch on a Saturday morning, was it lawful to pull him out? It is certainly work, but if he's going to die if you don't, well then does the life of a donkey merit the breaking of the sabbath? These were the discussions of the Pharisees. They were kind of like perpetual seminary students, always dealing with the absurd.

Apparently, healing a man blind from birth was not worth breaking the sabbath. Jesus could have just as easily waited until sundown to deal with the man's whole issue, but he didn't. Right away, while they were still walking along, Jesus healed the man, Saturday be damned.

What rules do we have that make no sense in everyday life? What is our modern day equivalent of rigid sabbath keeping? In the Episcopal Church, the issue around who can receive communion is viewed this way. Many would ask, "isn't God's grace-filled gift of Jesus' body and blood more important than silly rules around baptism?" What about the silly debate around tweeting from the House of Bishop's meeting at Kanuga? How do we take our place in the life of the Church when the leadership wants to keep everything a secret? Isn't sharing it more important than whatever heresies might be mistakenly shared via twitter. (My guess at one of the reasons not to tweet, though I have no evidence that this is a real concern).

What rules do we have that make no sense in everyday life? What rules do we have that bring death? What rules do we have that exclude for no good reason? Jesus healed on the sabbath, so should we.

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