“He said to them, “Suppose your child or ox fell into a ditch on the Sabbath day. Wouldn’t you immediately pull it out?” Luke 14: 5
It has been argued that the greatest influence on the development of our nation’s independence in the latter part of the 1700’s was the distribution of the Thomas Payne pamphlet Common Sense.
Common Sense articulated a growing dissatisfaction with the unequal and unfair ruling of the Colonists by the English Monarchy; the pamphlet breaking down the very legitimacy of Monarchy itself.
From this pamphlet, the colonist and the leaders of this new movement were better able to articulate and realize their future goals. In many ways, Common Sense helped give both new language as well as connect previously disconnected ideas, philosophies, and ideologies. It was a catalyst for the decisions and momentum that led our country towards its independence.
Our scripture reading today picks up just after Jesus heals a man suffering from an abnormal swelling of his body.
At the home of a Pharisee Leader.
Who was watching him closely.
On the Sabbath.
Are you picking up what I’m throwing down here?
Jesus was constantly challenging what he considered outdated rules and laws that once served a purpose for its followers but failed to allow for the nuance that life is full of.
Like Common Sense over 1700 years later, Jesus is challenging the conventional wisdom of his day.
Why can’t you heal a person on the Sabbath, Jesus asks, after healing a person on the Sabbath of course.
Does that sound like the God you know and love, he challenges them?
Would you abandon your child on the Sabbath, he asks them? How about one of your animals you depend on for your livelihood?
Common sense tells them that they would absolutely save any of their family members on the Sabbath or even their work animals.
One of Jesus favorite things to do was to share a meal with everyone from the Pharisees, to the tax collectors, to the prostitutes. Dinner could often be a contentious and difficult time with the convergence of tradition and social norms (think Thanksgiving dinner with the family members you always argue with…times 10).
These traditions and norms would often define what you could eat, who you could eat with, and even how you were to eat certain things. Jesus loved to push back on those firmly held beliefs during these already stressful and at times, uncomfortable dinners.
Jesus, with his everlasting grace, love, and mercy is continually reminding us that common sense SHOULD ALWAYS prevail when applying God’s laws and truths.
I simply want to encourage you this week as you navigate the nuance and challenges of your faith. I want to invite you consider ways you might be holding on tighter to tradition and rules and explore those places where Jesus might be challenging you to see with new eyes and hear with new ears.
Faith can be difficult as we try to make sense of a two thousand-year-old divine text in the context of our ever-changing world. How do we unpack what Jesus has to say about the way we are to engage each other, let alone our ‘other selves’ on social media, 401 K’s, environmental concerns, or any number of uniquely modern concerns? I suspect Jesus would continue to remind us to use common sense, as he reminded the Pharisees at that dinner so many centuries ago.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
We are meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11:00 a.m. on Wednesdays in the Fellowship Hall.
Join us on the Second Sunday of every month for good food and good fellowship.
Military Appreciation Breakfast
Third Saturday of the month, 8 a.m.:
Veterans and Active Military and their Significant Others, join us for a hearty breakfast as we share our appreciation for your service.
United Methodist Women Monthly Meeting:
Third Thursday of every month: March 17, April 21, May 19.
United Methodist Men's Monthly Breakfast:
*Postponed Until Further Notice
Tuesday: 8-12 am
Wednesday: 8-11 am
Thursday: 8-11 am
La Junta United Methodist Church
601 San Juan Ave
La Junta, CO 81050
Phone: (719) 384-7717
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