Fanny Burney, born into a family of scholars, explorers, historians and musicians, wrote novels in 18th-19th century England. A national celebrity, she lived, visited and entertained with the upper classes.
A friend outlined some of the responsibilities attendant on her when she served as Assistant Keeper of the Robes to Queen Charlotte—consort of George III. Such as: the ability to carry conversation beyond monosyllabic to detailed discussions; never coughing in her Majesty’s presence, even to the extent of choking instead of coughing; never sneezing in her Majesty’s presence, even if repulsing it meant you ground your teeth, even if stifling it caused you to burst a blood-vessel; never stir hand or foot in her Majesty’s presence, even if in pain, even if stifling it you bit your lips or cheek so hard you bit off a piece of flesh. And, of course, never spit in her Majesty’s presence, etc., etc., etc.
So much for waiting on her Majesty. I wonder what she did when she had to sneeze or cough or scratch an itch! But nothing unusual in any government before or sense, especially among royals. Great Diaries, 377
Jesus faced such idiotic traditions in Israel. Rules that governed conduct, set limits on accepted activity, how far people could travel on the Sabbath, how they must ceremonially purify themselves and their utensils after being in public—and what constituted acceptable Sabbath day activities.
With no reluctance Jesus deliberately broke every tradition that interfered with his ministry of grace, though he kept every command of Moses that related to duty! May we study to learn, until we know, the difference between form that exists to limit freedom and substance that frees us to live by God’s Spirit in grace.