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“They need a bath”

May 22, 2023

Daily Scripture

Mark 3:1-6, Luke 19:37-39

Mark 3

1 Jesus returned to the synagogue. A man with a withered hand was there. 2 Wanting to bring charges against Jesus, they were watching Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Step up where people can see you.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they said nothing. 5 Looking around at them with anger, deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did, and his hand was made healthy. 6 At that, the Pharisees got together with the supporters of Herod to plan how to destroy Jesus.

Luke 19

37 As Jesus approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole throng of his disciples began rejoicing. They praised God with a loud voice because of all the mighty things they had seen. 38 They said,
“Blessings on the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
    Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens.”
39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop!”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

In this week’s GPS, we’ll trace the first “Jesus Revolution,” the source of all later spiritual revolutions. The Jesus Revolution of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s happened because too many spiritual leaders saw that day’s “hippies” as unworthy of God’s love. Jesus came to a world where many religious leaders had similar views. Early on, Mark noted that some Pharisees already wanted to kill Jesus. At the end, as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the day’s senior clergy urged him to scold his disciples.

  • Jesus’ determination to offer healing on the Sabbath led “the righteous” to seek an alliance with the corrupt Herodians to destroy Jesus. It seems, in this and other stories (e.g. Luke 14:1-6, John 5:1-18) that Jesus went out of his way to show that he valued people’s well-being more highly than strictly following man-made rules. Of course, we need some level of rules and policies. Have you ever faced a situation in which you needed to set aside rules or policies in order to meet human needs?
  • On that first “Palm Sunday,” (no one called it that until later), who sang and praised Jesus (verses 37-39)? Who disliked his entrance into the holy city (verse 39)? Would you more likely have been with “the establishment” who didn’t want their orderly status quo upset or with the upstart rabbi from Galilee and his disturbingly enthusiastic followers?

Loving Lord, when you were born, Jerusalem ignored the news. When you came to the city, its leaders still didn’t welcome you. Lord, I open my heart—I want to make room for you in my life always. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt is an ordained Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference, and has served since 2007. She is thrilled to be specializing in pastoral care of elderly adults now as Resurrection's Silverlink Pastor. She is married to Randall, a special education teacher. They have two daughters, Elliott and Marlowe. When Emily is not in a care home sharing communion or with her family on another Kansas City adventure, you can find her curled up on the couch at home binge watching "Friends" or "Golden Girls."

One question in today’s GPS guide was simple and tucked into the middle of the guide. Have you ever faced a situation in which you needed to set aside rules or policies in order to meet human needs? The question almost made me spit my coffee out as I was preparing to write this insight. Not because the question is out of line or humorous but because my immediate response was this: how many times have I broken the rules and what story am I comfortable sharing?

Yes. So many times, yes. For me, ministry has been a constant exercise in paying attention to rules and policies that are there to keep people safe and out of harm’s way while also balancing that sometimes rules simply need to be broken so I can share the good news of God. In fact, I think that might be one of the hallmarks of a devoted follower of Jesus. Instead of sharing a personal story with you I want to share one I learned about someone else.

I heard about a rabbi in Memphis, TN during the sanitation worker’s strikes that eventually became the backdrop for the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I learned this story when my husband and I visited the National Memorial in Memphis at the Lorraine Hotel where MLK JR. was assassinated. The museum (like any excellent one) sets the scene of the night he was killed with lots of plaques to read. And I married someone who reads EVERY SINGLE plaque. Did I mention we were on our honeymoon, and this was the first time we had been in a museum like this together, so that was the day I learned about the plaque reading? I digress. In all seriousness, I am grateful that he read about Rabbi James A. Wax. Rabbi Wax broke some rules during these sanitation strikes so he could meet some important human needs. He developed a reputation with prison guards because he tended to talk to them very loudly so the workers that had been put in jail unlawfully could get updates on where the strikes stood and when they could maybe expect to be let out of their cells. So the rabbi knew he could not talk to the jailed people, but no one said he could not talk to the guards!

Sometimes, rules need to be broken. Sometimes, lives are saved when our human rules are ignored. After all, Jesus showed us this in his life and ministry. I sincerely hope and pray that we can do the same.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.