Many of you have found these last couple weeks unsettling. Trust me, I feel ya!
As we turn our hearts to scripture, it is unsettling as well. Much of scripture is a jolt – a disruption – an upsetting of norms and ideals.
Jesus is not just breaking social norms today, but is violating one of the 10 Commandments. It is quite difficult to understand what is going on when Jesus himself breaks the Sabbath commandment. Jesus cures on the Sabbath. He teaches on the Sabbath. He allows his disciples to pluck heads of grain and eat the grain. All this is considered work.
How are we to understand what is going on?
Jesus ends one of the conversations with: “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” That is certainly one answer, that God doesn’t have to follow God’s own laws.
Another answer is that Jesus is reinterpreting the entirety of the Law. No longer is the Law meant to restrict, but to set free. It is not that the Law is obsolete, but must always be read through the lens of love. And so, in that respect, we are not to focus on the fact that these heads of grain are being plucked (i.e. work) and that they are most probably stolen from a field that is not theirs. Instead we are to focus on their hunger, and God’s desire to provide for us in times of need.
It is with this spirit that Colossians begins. “We have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord.”
This is something that many in churches today want to ignore: wisdom. Coming to a knowledge of God’s will and cultivating wisdom are lifelong endeavors. We are not asked to pick up our Bibles and check our minds at the door, but to wrestle with the struggles of the Law and love. We are meant to breathe it in deeply and come to wisdom and understanding.
This is not an easy endeavor, but one that requires patience and fortitude.