Proper 16 – Year C

Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; (or Isaiah 58:9b-14; Psalm 103:1-8); Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17

“Any time you can get a little bit of rest it helps.” – Jonathan Cheechoo

                In one sense Jesus is breaking the Sabbath.  In another sense, the sagacity of common sense, Jesus is fulfilling the commands of Sabbath rest.  One sunny Saturday Jesus heals a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years.  She never asked to be healed.  Jesus simply noticed that she needed a rest.  The “hypocrites” (Jesus’ word, Luke 13:15) accused him of breaking the Sabbath which prohibited work.  But the essence of Sabbath is not in what it forbids, but in what it requires.  It requires rest.  Who needs a rest here?  The woman had been bent over for eighteen years.  She was ground down by life, weary and washed out.  Jesus gave her a rest.  He gave her Sabbath.  She had served her time.  Now her Sabbath time had come.  Now, not tomorrow, as the hypocrites suggested.  To use a colloquialism, Jesus was saying to the complainers “give it a rest.”  How about us?  What needs a rest in our lives?  What cripples us so that we are not who we are meant to be?  The woman was bent over.  We may stoop from osteoporosis or from depression and a broken spirit.  Or more ethically speaking, who are we crippling?  Do we hold back anyone else’s potential?  Give it a rest.  Now is the time for Sabbath.  Stop what we are doing right now.  Rest.

Greek

                Luke 13:11 refers to a spirit that “crippled” the woman.  The Greek literally says “a spirit of weakness.”  We have all met that spirit.

                The word “Sabbath” is used five times in this Gospel.  This was the word for the last day of the week, our Saturday.  Also it is sometimes used for the whole week which culminates on Saturday (Sabbath).  The word literally means “rest.”  It is based on the creation story where God rested on the seventh day from all he had created.

Haiku

Low stooped, crippled so.

Look up to the above blue.

Sabbath time for rest.

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