Monday, August 16, 2010

Gospel Text for Sunday, August 22nd

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.

Questions for engaging the text:

- What do I observe" What am I seeing" Does this passage raise questions for me?
- Is anything attracting me, drawing my attention, or repulsing me?
-What response is emerging within me? What is my response to what is attracting me?***
-In what ways might I specifically act on my insights in the world
I really want to hear from you. Thank you for clicking on "Comments" below and adding your responses.
Grace and Peace, Debra

*** 1st three questions taken from The Art of Engaging Holy Scripture curriculum (see resources)


  1. I wonder what made the woman bent over? Was it a congenital condition, an injury or perhaps the result of life weighing upon her. No matter – the point is her life was limited and Jesus set her free… that is the language. The text does not read, “Jesus healed her.” When Jesus said, “Woman you are set free from your ailment,” she stood up straight and I imagine she threw he arms into the air and” began praising God!” So what is the problem?

    I notice Jesus was “teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.” Presumably that means he was recognized as an authority of the Hebrew Scriptures. Indeed, Jesus was a teacher, a rabbi. He should have known the law as recorded in the scriptures – no work on Shabbat, Sabbath. The Sabbath was set aside as a time for the Jews to remember two things: that God is the creator of heaven and earth and of all living things and that God freed the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. I wonder how many people caught the irony of Jesus freeing the woman from the oppression of her condition on Shabbat?

    Freedom begins with remembering the things of the past that point us to an encounter with the living and liberating God. Even though she was probably in pain and quite worn out from eighteen years of suffering, the bent over woman in Luke’s text went to the synagogue to participate in the Shabbat ritual of remembering things of the past. She went to the synagogue to remember that God is a God of creation, of new life, a God who desires the people to be free. ANd in her encounter with Jesus what had been a memory became a present reality. The God of creation saw her, called her, she responded and she was set free.

    I am attracted to the faithfulness in this text, both the woman’s and God’s. I am reminded of the importance of reading and remembering the gracious deeds of loving God, of responding to God's call and praising God's holy name.

    Check out the video – “Oppression to Freedom” – click on upper right image

  2. I am attracted by Jesus' awareness of and sensitivity to the present moment. He was in the synagogue, the right place to be, religiously and culturally, on the Sabbath. He was teaching, a practice that was traditional, significant and dear to his own heat, for he loved to teach the people. Yet, the present came to him in the person of this woman, and he saw it, entered it, and acted by the need and reality of the moment. I want to be like that. I want to be open to the present always. I want to be ready to set aside my important activity to enter the presciousness of the present moment, to meet the person who is in the moment. To be the person I am in the moment. I used to be held out by the pressure of what I was doing, what I was already engaged in. I have moved beyond this, pretty much, but I am still help out of the moment by any number of inner distractions. As I remember Jesus, in this incident and others, I am called in, into the present, and invited to be there and act who I am, now.