Podcast: Play in new window
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | More
O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
teach us to be faithful
in change and uncertainty,
that trusting in your word
and obeying your will
we may enter the unfailing joy
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sing praise to the Lord, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion;
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates
and has blest your children within you.
He has established peace in your borders
and satisfies you with the finest wheat.
He sends forth his command to the earth
and his word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool
and scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.
He casts down his hailstones like morsels of bread;
who can endure his frost?
He sends forth his word and melts them;
he blows with his wind and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and judgements to Israel.
He has not dealt so with any other nation;
they do not know his laws. Alleluia.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, ‘Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?’ But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, ‘If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?’ And they could not reply to this.
And they could not reply to this.
In today’s reading we are witnessing, once again, the controversy of what should or should not be done on the sabbath. There is no doubt that the sabbath is important, but is its observance so important that the opportunity to share God’s love and compassion must be put on hold for one day of every week?
In Genesis we read of God’s resting on the seventh day, while in the ten commandments we receive God’s instruction that the sabbath should be kept as holy. In fact, Moses goes further than that when he says: Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. When looked at from this point of view it is not difficult to see how the conflict arose between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders.
The important issue for us, as followers of Jesus Christ, is to remember that Jesus’ message was new. Jesus’ message turned the accepted norms of first century Jewish life on their head. Jesus’ message was one of change … never an easy message for human beings to hear!
Instead of slavishly following the religious rules and regulations, Jesus is encouraging us to adopt a different way of looking at our daily responsibilities. Jesus is encouraging us to put ‘love’ at the very centre of all we say and think and do … love of God and love of neighbour. Jesus emphasizes this message when he asks: If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day? If we would do this for our own children and our own livestock, should we not be prepared to do the same for all of the children of God?
Let us pray that we might follow the teachings and the laws of God, but tempered with the love and compassion demonstrated by Jesus himself. Let us pray that we might not become so bogged down in matters of common practice that we forget Jesus’ overriding teaching of love for all. Let us pray that we might never act in a way that leaves us silent when asked why we have distanced ourselves from Jesus’ call to love.
Prayers of intercession
For the healing of all ills in the Church and in the world, let us pray to the Lord.
We pray that the Church may keep holy the Lord’s Day in reverence and worship, but never let its observance destroy compassion for those in need. Shield your people from hardness of heart and confidence in their own righteousness.
Grant to those in authority the grace not to rule in their own interest but for the good of those they govern. May those who make and administer laws have compassion on the weak and lay no oppressive burdens on them.
May we, and all those around us, be alert to perceive where there is need and to give such help as we can. Bless our community with the spirit of harmony and mutual concern.
Have mercy on all who are disabled by accident or illness. Give them courage and hope in their affliction and bless those who work for their healing.
Receive into new life the souls of those who have departed from this world. May they rejoice in the eternal Sabbath where hunger and sickness are no more.
We offer our prayers in the name of Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath.
Prayer for the week
We thank you, Lord,
for calling us to be your witnesses:
grant us the courage and the love
to be obedient and faithful to that calling.
We pray that our lives may bear witness
to your love shown in Jesus Christ,
and that our witness may reflect your light
in the communities in which we live and work,
to the glory of your name.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.