Mark 2:27-28 – And Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for the good of man; man was not made for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
When Jesus faced the Pharisees concerning the disciples picking the heads of wheat on the Sabbath, He was facing their mis-representation of God. The God their Sabbath rules represented was negative and petty.
When I was growing up a generation ago I remember as a boy the strictness attached to the Sabbath by those around me. My cousin was severely whipped for swimming on Sunday. My mother would never knit on Sunday, and so on. No doubt those making such rules were sincerely convinced they were necessary. I spent much of my life trying to find my way through to what Jesus said in the verses in Mark. Gail Sheehy in Passages wrote, "Many people locked in early to a tight religious tradition find themselves struggling by mid-life against absolutist positions that no longer correspond to their experience."
Jesus insisted that the Father established the Sabbath for the good of all people. It is an opportunity to move away from repetitive everyday toil so as to add wholeness to life through activities that refresh and strengthen faith. To turn such a gracious provision into a burdensome, harsh observance was, for Jesus, a gross distortion. Rather than use the day in a wholesome way that enriches life, the Pharisees were restricting and prohibiting the most innocent of activities. The Sabbath is a time for worship but it is also a time for family life and fun and for enjoying God's beautiful world. A Sunday that is positively different is so much truer to the Creator's intention than a Sabbath that is negatively dull.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, on Sunday and each day of our lives, help us to rejoice in gladness, and worship you in praise and thanksgiving for the grace of your forgiveness which is beyond our understanding. Amen.