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February 19th: The Gift of Traditions



Scripture: - Mark 2:18-28


The Gift of Traditions

Every time I read this passage, it catches me off guard. Not in a bad way, but because I never immediately recall what Jesus is telling us. It's a mix of announcing a new covenant, a fresh way to commune with God, a deeper understanding of our relationship with Him, and a reminder to uphold authentic traditions.


Fasting was a tradition of faith observed at least annually by most Jewish followers. Initially, it symbolized mourning or repentance but later became a gauge of one's discipline and spirituality. Hence, Jesus questions if it still reflects authentic faith. Similarly, Sabbath observance had become overly rigid, a test of holiness among religious leaders.


Yet, Jesus uses the metaphor of new wine in new wineskins to convey hope, change, and the need for authentic faith expression. He likens following God to a joyous wedding celebration rather than a burdensome duty.


To me, the pivotal realization in this passage is that the Sabbath was a gift for humanity to rest, recharge, and connect with God. Likewise, fasting, when approached authentically, is also a gift. While some may interpret this passage as negating the need for these practices in Christ's new era, I believe it underscores their value when practiced sincerely, devoid of comparison.


I challenge us, myself included, to earnestly consider fasting from something. Sabbath itself is a form of fasting. Let's acknowledge that God's command to rest is an expression of His deep love for us. Fasting isn’t just about food.  Some of us shouldn’t fast from food. Fasting can be from work, technology, food, shopping, anger, worry, and many other things that God may be personally asking you to work on for the sake of your relationship. (I am not a doctor, so you need to do whatever is best for your health.)


Questions:

  1.  Which traditions do we excessively elevate, turning them into competitions rather than avenues for personal growth?

  2. What aspects of being a child of God bring you joy? Are there any that feel less joyful? How might we address this?

  3. Take a moment to plan a fast or Sabbath, whether for a few hours or an entire day. Choose the duration that suits you best.


Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for creating me and loving me so much that you not only give me permission but encourage me to take breaks.  Sorry for all the times that I have gone full steam ahead and forgot to rest and in doing so forgot to grow my relationship with you.  So in this moment, I take a few deep breaths and just say “thank you.” Amen.


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