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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Today’s Reading | 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. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. (NRSV)
The idea of a sabbath has always been somewhat foreign to me. Traditionally I try to take part in remembering the sabbath on Sundays. When I was young, my father would sometimes work on Sundays. And then there was the occasional soccer game or birthday party. As I got older and started working, Sundays were typically very busy for me. And then in college, Sunday was the night I did all my homework from the weekend. The word “sabbath” just became a synonym for “Sunday.” It wasn’t anything special.
But the sabbath is supposed to be special! Not just because it means a day of no work, but because it is a day of rest. In our passage for today, I think this is the point that Jesus is making. Prohibiting certain acts on the sabbath but not others doesn’t necessarily imply rest. Every creature deserves rest. Even the work animals, the ox and donkey, are given a day of rest. So when Jesus saw the opportunity to give a woman the chance to rest, he took it.
We also need to take chances given to us for rest. It doesn’t have to be Sundays. And quite honestly, I’m not sure it even needs to be a twenty-four-hour period. But taking a break to turn off the cell phone, not check email, update Facebook, or any of the myriad of distractions we have these days, is a good thing. This is the rest we need.
Almighty and powerful God, even you rested. Jesus reminds us that all of creation deserves time to rest. Guide me to the water and help me take a drink. Let me rejoice at the chance to rest! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Written by Sarah Bennett, Director of Junior High Ministry
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