Reflecting on Luke 6:1-11. “Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’”
Following God means being a breaker of taboos. God is always wider than all the boxes – full of the energy of the nuclear explosions of stars.
God the Almighty, truly all mighty, is totally uninspired by our clan wars, our machinations of exclusion. Creator God, essentially creative, is too constrained by the forms of worship we usually enjoy. We lay these rituals out like traps – traps baited with our willingness to be, for an hour or so, in relationship with The Holy One.
What religious laws would capture God’s attention, really? Jesus says: those that result, when practiced, in loving God with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength – and loving our neighbors with the same self-interest with which we love ourselves. Making kinfolk of the strangers, making equal partners of the marginalized, healing what is broken, opening to new ways of seeing and appreciating that which doesn’t fit our understanding – these are the gestures of worship God desires.
We little creatures of blood and bone often cannot tolerate such chaos. Our carefully laid out lives and our dependable rituals give us a place of safety in our dealings with The Holy One. From such safety we can face all the confusing and unpredictable things God has made. And if someone threatens our rules and rituals, we close the tent flaps and hunker down. And if that doesn’t work we think of weapons. What will make this encroaching newness go away? Perhaps we can kill it.
Yet, if we listen to the movement of our hearts we find a secret collusion. “Come out of your death place,” God urges us. And our hearts tug in the direction of new understanding, new hope, new dreams. “Celebrate life with me,” God says, “all life, everywhere, no matter how strangely and wonderfully made.” And, to our surprise, we find that our hearts lead us to try, and then we find that we can.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and liturgical artist, a writer and lay preacher living in Fort Collins, CO. See her work online at Everyday Mysteries.