March 5, 2010
On the way home from doing some stuff around town, Father reminded me of these words of Jesus: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27). When I got home, I looked the verse up in the commentary (Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol 8, p 638), because I was thinking (You were telling me!) that also the “Constitution and Bylaws” – and even the church! – were also made for man, and not man for them!
So this is what the commentary said: “To Jesus the Sabbath was not created for its own sake; it was a gift of God to man. Its purpose was not to put man in a kind of straight jacket. It was for his good – to provide rest from labor and opportunity for worship.”
And of course that has to be true also of God’s gift of “the church” to His children, too – In an even greater way!
(And I’m pretty sure that the writer of the “constitution and bylaws” of this “church” had much the same kind of goals in mind… to protect the gathering of this part of God’s body, and remove potential distractions that could remove focus from worship of and relationship with God, and so on. Only I am afraid that, with human beings the way we are, there is immediately a huge temptation to twist the purposes of this document, and actually make it a weapon of power and control… as we too often see it happen… After all, if man can twist the “body of Christ, His church” in these ways, how much more easily can man do it to a well-meaning but man-made document (which in its very creation recognizes the potential of people to twist everything…).
(And then the commentator goes on to quote Taylor: “Since the Sabbath was made for man, He who is man’s Lord… has authority to determine its law and use.” And it seems to me that that is no less true in the case of the church… or even of the constitution and bylaws! It’s His authority, not ours. He does not need us to try and protect, run, direct what is His to begin with (the church) – or even what we have created in relation to the church (in this case, the constitution and bylaws) if we truly accept Him as Lord! (Well, I suppose that also begs the question of whether we then really should have structured Christ’s church in such a way that we “need” a “constitution and bylaws”… hmmm, that’s a whole other kettle of fish, eh :-` (Papa???)
1 Thess 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13. so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
And, oh yes… “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front, don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” (Phil 2:1-3 paraphrase)