A shared thought from the UCC Daily Devotional of Aug. 20 ...
It's pretty easy for Christians, and maybe especially liberal Protestants, to say, "Look at those uptight, narrow-minded Pharisees. Thank God, we're not like them! Thank God, we know that human needs like hunger, healing or help in crisis are more important than religious ritual or observance."
It is easy, in other words, to be smug about our open-mindedness, and to congratulate ourselves on our more flexible and magnanimous, and certainly not hidebound, faith.
But what if Jesus' point was not less, but actually more, demanding? This story concludes with his tense, not entirely clear statement, "Christ is lord of the sabbath."
It's the kind of statement that creates a moment of truth: what is God doing right now? What does God require of me, of us, right at this moment? We are in the presence of the living Christ, what now?
Often we too are stuck in familiar arguments, predictable conflicts and entrenched positions. Christ's presence shatters all that, renders it null and void. The old that has passed away; there is, in Christ, a new creation. In Christ God is doing a new thing.
We are "open," but are we open to that?