Print Version March 5th, 2005
It’s a long story but it asks a short question: where should we look to see God? And this drama enacts two answers to that question: there’s an exclusion and an inclusion. And it all comes down to what you think the Sabbath means.
Either the Sabbath serves to separate those who observe it—the good guys—from those who don’t—sinners all—thereby limiting God by the Law. Or the Sabbath stands as an opportunity for God to reveal God’s ever more creative goodness and kindness to us, unfinished creations that we are.
To the religious authorities in the story God has stopped creating and things are the way they are and if you are blind then someone’s broken the law somewhere. But to Jesus creation is open ended and God never rests from creative compassion.
And look what a difference it makes: To what we think of sin. What we think of suffering. What we think of God.
How do you know where God is and God isn’t? To some it is clear because the lines are sharply drawn. Who is in and who is out is black and white—not a grey area in sight. And sinners are easy to spot and easy to exclude.
But Jesus redefines sin. It’s not crossing some line that makes a sinner. What makes a sinner is drawing the line; seeing the differences between us in terms of guilt and fault and failing.
It comes down to this: Is God a little tribal deity, sleeping out his latter years, while his kingdom is administered by religious bureaucrats? Or is God Creator of all and endlessly unstoppable in her ingenuity and fecundity and grace?
That’s a question we all need to answer whether on retreat or a course or on the team. Where do I go looking for God? And where do I not look, never look, because I’ve drawn the line.
How creative will I let God be?