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  • Writer's pictureRose D

Rule Followers: Are You Missing the Point?

March 10,2024

During the pandemic, my work transitioned from downtown Nashville to home where my kids were also attending school online.  I soon discovered that one downside to an open floor plan at home is that there is nowhere to have a quiet conversation. This often meant I could hear their teachers and classmates talking throughout the day.  One day the teacher told the kids to take a 10 minute break.  Soon there was silence online as the children turned off their microphones and  left their seats.  About 3 minutes into the break, I suddenly heard the teacher speaking again, ”David, honey, you’re on break, you can get up, you don’t have to sit there."  David responded, “I can’t.  My Dad told me at the beginning of class to sit and not move.” I chuckled and walked over to the computer to look. There was David very solemnly sitting in his seat, determined to follow the rules. I doubt David’s Dad truly meant for him to not move but that’s what David heard, and he was going to do what his father told him to do.  

The Pharisees act a lot like David. They’re following the law to keep the Sabbath holy but is that why God gave them the Commandments? And when Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath is it more important that he heals the blind man or keeps the Sabbath?  Is that why we fast or give up chocolate during Lent, or why we go to mass on Sunday so we can complete a checklist that God is supposedly aware of, and as long as we complete the checklist we are “holy”?

Laws are not bad. They keep us safe; they make life more predictable and less chaotic  and overall make life easier.  Keeping the Sabbath holy takes our focus off of doing and instead we have time for being, whether that is alone with God or being in community with family and friends.  Good things come from keeping the Sabbath and following the Commandments and going to mass on Sunday but what God wants more than our completed checklist is a relationship, is our time and our attention. Following the rules is only a beginning point in our relationship with God.


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