[R]eligion poisons everything.
—Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great.
“Religion” is what we make it. It moves from the human being to God; the arrow points from earth to heaven. The key ingredient in religion is the spiritual capacity and development of the religious person. This is such a familiar idea to all of us, whether we are believers or not, that it comes as quite a shock to discover from the Scriptures of the Old and New testaments that God is not interested in religion.
—Fleming Rutledge, “No Religion Here Today”
Sermon Summary: Our lives are busy, and many people suffer from the lack of physical rest. But what about spiritual rest? Often we find ourselves equally exhausted from spiritual striving. Come this Sunday to hear what God has to say about true rest and where to find it.
Passage to Consider: Mark 2:18-3:6
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand.2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
Confession of Sin:
Father, you show us the way of life through your Son, Jesus Christ.
Forgive us for being reluctant to follow him because his ways disturb our religious practices.
Jesus, you showed us how to care for others and meet their needs.
Forgive us for being slow to learn from you because we are bound by our own laws and sense of righteousness.
Have mercy on us Lord, and forgive us.
Renew us by your Holy Spirit and make us more like Jesus. Amen
Songs to Consider: