Conduits of Healing and Liberation, Part 2

Conduits of Healing and Liberation, Part 2 January 31, 2024

Healing and Liberation


For now, we see the Sabbath had also been coopted. Healing was completely detached from it. If you were to be healed, it had to be outside of the Sabbath, after the Sabbath had passed. The Sabbath, which was originally a time of healing and restoration, had now become a day where healing was forbidden. So Restoring the Sabbath’s liberation value is also a subtle part of this story.

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(Read this series from its beginning here.)

Walter Brueggemann makes a modern application for the value of the Sabbath as we, too, find ourselves in contemporary systems of economic extraction:

“The way of mammon (capital, wealth) is the way of commodity that is the way of endless desire, endless productivity, and endless restlessness without any Sabbath.” (Sabbath as Resistance, p. 11)

“In our own contemporary context of the rat race of anxiety, the celebration of Sabbath is an act of both resistance and alternative. It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity goods. Such an act of resistance requires enormous intentionality and communal reinforcement amid the barrage of seductive pressures from the insatiable insistences of the market, with its intrusion into every part of our life from the family to the national budget . . . But Sabbath is not only resistance. It is alternative.” (Sabbath as Resistance, Preface)

In future weeks, we’ll discuss this tension between Jesus’ healings and the Sabbath as it continues to build in Mark’s stories.

In the final part of our reading this week, Jesus withdraws from the crowds for some self-care. It’s an example of the balance that’s so vital to the sustainability of any justice work. And Jesus shares his own understanding of his mission in this version of the Jesus story:

“Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach [the gospel of the kingdom] there also. That is why I have come.”

So Jesus embarks on an itinerant circuit throughout Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, or the good news of the arrival of God’s just world within the synagogues throughout Galilee. The story makes a point to specifically name that the gospel work includes “driving out demons.” We discussed this at length last week. It is important to read theses exorcisms systemically not individually. We’ll touch on why it’s important, next.

(Read Part 3)



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About Herb Montgomery
Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries, is an author and adult religious re-educator helping Christians explore the intersection of their faith with love, compassion, action, and societal justice. You can read more about the author here.

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