God Invented Rest

Message Title: God Invented Rest
Theme: Flopped Inventions & New Discoveries
Season: Epiphany
Main Text: Mark 1:29-39
Scripture Reading: Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
RCL Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39
Focus: Amid Jesus’ ministry, he took time to rest.
Function: To accept the gift of rest and find time to recharge our own metaphorical batteries.
Other Notes: Alfred L Cralle (a black graduate of an ABHMS seminary) & inventor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_L._Cralle

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 147:1-11, 20c Praise the Lord! Because it is good to sing praise to our God! Because it is a pleasure to make beautiful praise! 2The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem, gathering up Israel’s exiles. 3God heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. 4God counts the stars by number, giving each one a name. 5Our Lord is great and so strong! God’s knowledge can’t be grasped! 6The Lord helps the poor, but throws the wicked down on the dirt! 7Sing to the Lord with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre! 8God covers the skies with clouds; God makes rain for the earth; God makes the mountains sprout green grass. 9God gives food to the animals—even to the baby ravens when they cry out. 10God doesn’t prize the strength of a horse; God doesn’t treasure the legs of a runner. 11No. The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love. …20c Praise the Lord!

INVENTION: Ice Cream Scoop – Alfred L. Cralle

    1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? What is the best brand of ice cream?
    2. Who dishes their ice cream with any spoon they can find? Who prefers to use an actual ice cream scoop?
  2. Alfred L. Cralle has impacted each of our lives in ways you may not realize. Cralle worked as a porter for a hotel & drug store in Washington, DC. On Feb 2nd 1897, he changed our lives. That was the day the patent office officially registered his invention.
    1. What was his invention, you ask? The “Ice Cream Mold & Disher,” you heard me right. He invented the ice cream scoop. If you were paying attention, that means just last week we celebrated 124 years of the ice cream scoop! Aren’t our lives so much better?
  3. Cralle’s invention isn’t the only cool thing connecting his story to ours. Alfred L. Cralle is important to Baptist history too! No, not just because his invention of the ice cream scoop makes our pitch-ins easier.
    1. “Cralle was sent to Washington D.C. where he attended Wayland Seminary, a branch of the National Theological Institute, one of a number of schools founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society immediately after the Civil War to help educate newly freed African Americans.”
    2. Booker T. Washington (Virginia Union University)
  4. Sources.
    1. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/cralle-alfred-l-1866-1920/
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_L._Cralle
    3. https://www.nba.com/pacers/video/this-day-in-black-history-alfred-cralle
    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayland_Seminary

TRANSITION: Our story today may not include the sweet creamy goodness of ice cream, but we may still find some joy or reprieve from the stresses of this world through the stories of Jesus.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:29-39 29After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew. 30Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once. 31He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them. 32That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered near the door. 34He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him. 35Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. 36Simon and those with him tracked him down. 37When they found him, they told him, “Everyone’s looking for you!” 38He replied, “Let’s head in the other direction, to the nearby villages, so that I can preach there too. That’s why I’ve come.” 39He traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and throwing out demons.

EXPLAINATION: Amid Jesus’ ministry, he took time to rest.

  1. As we follow the story of Jesus in Mark, you may notice that Jesus’ ministry begins in the northern part of Israel. He hangs out in the Galilee region for a while.
    1. In today’s text, we’re still in Capernaum. We know from the other John’s Gospel that Simon, Andrew, and Philip are all from Capernaum.
  2. Jesus leaves the synagogue after teaching & casting out a demon.
    1. Then James, John, Simon-Peter, and Andrew went with Jesus to Simon’s house. His mother-in-law was sick and Jesus healed her.
    2. Jesus stayed in the same area of Capernaum healing people.
  3. But eventually, Jesus took time to rest. Jesus went into solitude and rested.
    1. Yes, there were still people begging for his attention and demanding of his talents. But he paused and rested.
  4. After resting, he got up and continued on with his work. He didn’t stay in one town but continued traveling on teaching, healing, and casting out demons along the way.

INTERPRETATION: Amid Jesus’ ministry, he took time to rest.

  1. Jesus & Sabbath: The healing stories and exorcism stories are fascinating in this passage, but believe it or not, that’s not the thing that stands out to me. Instead, I notice Jesus practicing the very Jewish practice of Sabbath.
  2. Jews & Sabbath: Honestly, the others are also practicing the sabbath, but Jesus is on a different rotation.
    1. Just before this, Jesus was in the synagogue teaching and casting out demons, right? They’re celebrating the Sabbath for a day of rest.
      1. Sabbath is from sundown to sundown the following day. Starting Friday and ending Saturday evening.
    2. God established sabbath: The sabbath was given to humans as a gift. God designed creation with rest in mind.
      1. Genesis 1: 31-2:4–God set an example.
        1. 31 God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good. There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day. The heavens and the earth and all who live in them were completed. On the sixth [a] day God completed all the work that he had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that he had done. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation.[b] This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
      2. Exodus 20: 8-11–God made that a guideline in the 10 commandments.
        1. Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. Six days you may work and do all your tasks, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Do not do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your animals, or the immigrant who is living with you. 11 Because the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them in six days, but rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
      3. Jesus practiced the Sabbath in his life & challenged the sabbath laws made by humans.
    3. Humans hate vague rules: Humans have always struggled with vague rules. We like things concrete and clear. It is easier to score our successes and judge others as failures that way. In my perspective, the story of sabbath laws portrays humans perfectly.
      1. The people of Israel struggled with what it meant to “honor the sabbath and keep it holy.” So, they added amendments (my word not theirs) to God’s laws to spell out exactly what they could and couldn’t do. God had built the law with space for freedom and interpretation, but humans wanted the law to be rigid.
      2. I’ve mentioned before that the 10 commandments became 613 laws. The 1 commandment about the sabbath developed into 39, that have even more specifications within each of those categories based on the interpretations of individual rabbis.
        1. 39 Melachot: thirty-nine categories of activity which Jewish law identifies as being prohibited by biblical law on Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. Many of these activities are also prohibited on the Jewish holidays listed in the Torah, although there are significant exceptions that permit carrying and preparing food under specific circumstances on holidays.”
          1. You could only take a certain number of steps.
          2. There is practically a flowchart of how you can help your cattle on the sabbath if they get into certain predicaments.
          3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/39_Melachot
        2. Shevut– rabbinic sabbath rules:
          1. The Rabbinic prohibitions fall into several categories: activities not in the spirit of Shabbat; activities which closely resemble a forbidden activity; activities which could lead one to perform a prohibited activity; or activities whose biblical permissibility is debated, so avoiding the activity allows one to keep Shabbat according to all Rabbinic opinions.”
          2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbinically_prohibited_activities_of_Shabbat
        3. Today in Israel on the sabbath:
          1. Hotels program elevators to stop at every floor b/c pushing a button on the sabbath is work.
          2. Hotel cooks prepare food for the sabbath the day before because cooking on the sabbath would be work.
    4. The story of the Sabbath is our story. It is easier to make life black and white than to consider the shades of gray. It is easier to feel validated as a child of God if we can condemn someone else for something we do well.
      1. The story of the sabbath laws is the story of all of the 10 commandments. In Matthew & John’s Gospels, Jesus says the 10 commandments are simplified into “Loving God and loving others.” We over complicate things.
    5. Our problem: We justify over working ourselves and consider it righteousness.
      1. It’s easier to think we can earn God’s favor than to think that God gives it to everyone.
      2. It’s easier to feel in control than to cling to God’s grace.
      3. Ephesians 2:8-10 You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith.This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. 10 Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.


  1. The economy of God has no scarcity, but the economy of the world sees you as a commodity.
    1. Midwestern work ethic- pull yourself up by your boot straps.
    1. What is something you like to eat or drink as a reward for hard work?
    2. What is something you like to do to rest? How do you recharge your “batteries”?
  3. Sabbath-No matter what you hear in this moment, hear this: Jesus has set a precedent for rest.
    1. The Son of God had a-mile-long list of asks. People wanting him to heal them or cast out demons or solve their problems. The requests didn’t go away, but Jesus took time to rest. He didn’t wait until the to-do list was over. He rested.
    2. Meme- satan is a bad role model
      1. Satan wants you tired and grumpy.
      2. Tired servant doesn’t spread the hope of christ
  4. Ice cream scoops & rest.
    1. Find tools that will help you work efficiently and ethically, but also, rest.
    2. God gives us laws not as a burden but to help us flourish. Work is good but so is rest. Take time to rest and recharge so that you can continue the good work of God.

CONCLUSION: you have permission to rest and it won’t change God’s opinion of you. Rest, recharge, and continue God’s good work of loving God and loving others.

COMMUNION: Ask a deacon to pray for the elements.

  1. Communion is a reminder of the gift of rest God gave us.
  2. Communion is a reminder that the score card is on Jesus’ shoulders, not ours.
  3. Communion is a reminder that we are to encourage each other to rest NOT work until our fingers bleed.
  4. Communion is God’s grace.

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