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Sabbath Work

August 27, 2019

Scripture Luke 13:10-17

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight.

Luke 13:10-11 NRSV

In the Gospel story, Jesus went throughout Galilee and Judea visiting villages. In the Gospel of Luke, he made several visits to synagogues, where the Jewish faithful would gather to worship. On this one visit in our scripture lesson, things began to escalate into a local and theological conflict at a particular synagogue because of a woman with a major problem. The Rev. Jill Duffield asks several questions about this woman. They are worth considering:

  • Who was she?

  • Was she a long-time member of the community of faith?

  • Had she been the one who brought food for the bereaved and assisted around the church?

  • Or, was she a stranger in their midst?

  • Or, worse yet, was she ignored as an outcast?

Of course, we will never know specific answers to any of these questions. But, a major point for us in the story is the in-breaking of God into the lives of these people with Jesus. In this setting on a Sabbath day, Jesus performed a miracle and relieved significant suffering. The new authority of God in Christ now stands against the backdrop of conventional worship and rigid, orthodox thinking: This is the position of the leader of the synagogue, representing the faithful assembled on the Sabbath. This situation still applies to us all today, just as much as it did in Palestine in the time of the ministry of Jesus.

Where do we see God breaking into your lives, the core of our existence? Can we see something like that in the everyday, or only in a time of worship? How will you and I respond to the gift of God’s forgiveness and acceptance of our own imperfections?

And, most importantly what do you and I do in thanksgiving for such a great gift from God in Jesus Christ?

Stan Reid


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