Today's passage was from John 9. In this passage, Jesus heals a man blind from birth. It is a miracle that is performed on a Sabbath. Of course, the religious leaders condemn Jesus for working of the Sabbath. God does not give us the Sabbath simply to make us stop working. Rather, the stopping of work on Sabbath directs our attention back to the redemptive work God is doing in and among us. Getting caught up in the "demands" of the Sabbath without being aware of God's presence and work leaves the Sabbath as a dead ritual. It ceases to be life-giving. Like Jesus, we are to "pause" and see the opportunities for God's life-giving activity.
I am reminded through this passage that my own routine, even when I am not working, often is not Sabbath. I am caught up in the theological questions and enigmas as did the disciples. I discredit those that claim God's work in their life with this-world explanations, as did the Pharisees and neighbors. I I worry and fear about how other perceive me rather than how I am perceived by God, as were the man's parents. I am confronted with my own blindness but have the audacity to question back, "What now? Am I blind, too?" I have all of my theological categories, presuppositions, and beliefs pulled together. If it doesn't fit in my theological box, I am quick to dismiss it as something other than God. But what happens when God does something that doesn't fit in my theological box? What happens when my blindness is exposed? Do I clamor back to the comfort of my darkness or am I willing for sight to be given by the Light of the World? Sabbath, for me, must become much more about stepping into the Light. It must become about putting down my guard, putting aside my box, and presenting myself before a God whose light exposes my deepest shadows. Sabbath may be about ceasing so that we may rest... but it must also be a ceasing from striving to control, constrain, and categorize God's work. It is a rest in which our attention is drawn back to the One "sent" from God so that we may "see" and be saved.