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The Sabbath

"There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day." Luke 13. 10 - 17

There are multiple story lines in today's gospel story of the healing of the bent over woman. This woman has been crippled for 18 years, she comes to the synagogue on the Sabbath as usual, not expecting anything but perhaps to be able to worship God as the law says to do. But Jesus sees her , calls her over and announces ,"Woman, you are free from your ailment." and he touches her and she stands up straight for the first time in 18 years. There is so much to explore in that healing, in the resurrection of the woman's physical being, and in the great joy she experiences that leads her to begin praising God and the crowd to rejoice.

The other important story line in this passage is the hypocrisy of the synagogue leaders, explicitly called out by Jesus. If the Sabbath is not a time to make God's people whole, then when is? As Suzanne Guthrie says in her Edge of Enclosure series:

Of COURSE Jesus healed on the Sabbath! The Sabbath is the sphere of heaven hovering, resting over earth, merging with earth, tantalizing us with the hope of completion and healing, justice and mercy and beauty and rest. Jesus, the Word made flesh, joined heaven to earth and earth to heaven, as we say in the Christmas blessing. And heaven, of course, not as a place in the sky (do I even have to say this?) but a quality, an influence, a consciousness, a beauty at the heart of the unfolding universe and in the dark unknown of the soul.

Today I will set this Sabbath apart as a time to look for "beauty at the heart of the unfolding universe" and rejoice like the crowd and the healed woman when I see it. Sabbath is a time for rejoicing like no other day.


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