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Lectionary

The Law over the process.

Some mornings you struggle. Not with the text: the picking of grains was licit within the Mosaic law, where there are bans on being overly efficient and profit driven. The ox is allowed to eat the grain he treshes. And you will not harvest to the edge of the field, leaving room for those who follow to gather grain so they can eat. Ruth did this during the harvest time when she and Naomi returned from Moab, and Boaz considered this her duty as a daughter.

Despite owning the field.

On doing good on the Sabbath: the later rabbis argued that it is a duty to heal on the sabbath, and a doctor or midwife must work to save life. This can be pushed too far.

The question is not if Christ kept the law. He did.

The issue is that he offended those who wanted to be seen as virtuous, and were envious of others spiritual status. Who coveted, and therefore broke the law.

And I note such people often use religious language.

Luke 6:1-11

6 On a Sabbath,[a] while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Where the Pharisees were caught up was the process by which they wanted the law to be bought in. Little by little. Precedent upon precedent. Rather than deal with the current slope (where there is no day of rest: we all need to schedule one) they decided to regulate society so nothing could be done.

They still do. There are orthodox electricians who hack appliances so they do not break the sabbath.

But that means that the Sabbath was made not for man. The principle is sound, and the law is good. But Christ, the law incarnate, trumped all the status and virtue signallers. And they wanted him dead.

There is nothing wrong with caring for others on the Sabbath. The stock still need to be fed. A child still needs to be nursed. The sick still need medicine and surgery. There is a lot wrong with requiring that people work every day without rest: without a holiday.

And there is even more wrong with microregulating everyone else so you can seem virtuous. That was the sin of the Pharisee, and is the sin of the modern pharisee who preaches social justice.

Do not be them, and do not be like them.

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