As we finish this week’s journey with God and ready ourselves to begin another week, we end with a cautionary note. When the leader of the synagogue saw Jesus call the crippled woman over and heal her on the sabbath, he became indignant. He believed that healing was a kind of work that was prohibited by sabbath regulations. Notably, the official was not opposed to the healing itself: He told people in the congregation who might be interested in healing to come back any day other than the sabbath.

Jesus, of course, did not stand for this. Untying knots was explicitly prohibited on the sabbath, but an exception was allowed to release tethered farm animals so they could eat or drink. How much more then should healing a human body, which does not involve any actions forbidden on the sabbath, be a cause for rejoicing?

Friends, we dare not try to limit the progress of those on their journey toward God. We might find ourselves working against God’s loving outreach toward our neighbors or ourselves. Just as responsible farmers or pet owners make sure their animals receive water every day, God makes sure that humans are unbound and led to the water of life every day of our lives.

God is taking us all on a journey. Let us never stand in the way of God’s freeing, healing, and loving actions. Let us be awake and alert to ways that God is bringing freedom, healing, and love into the world!

Lord God, we love you. Thank you for loving us first and best. Strengthen us for the journey that you have set out for us. Help us to love and encourage our neighbors. Prevent us, God, from inhibiting your kingdom. Instead, help us to follow you faithfully on the journey. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 13:10-17

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Lectionary Week
August 15–21, 2022
Scripture Overview

The readings in Jeremiah and Psalm 71 are repeated in a pair from earlier in the year (January 24–30). They describe the authors’ confidence that God has had plans for their lives since even before they were born. God similarly knows each one of us and has a calling on our lives. The reading in Hebrews gives us confidence in the permanence of the kingdom of God, to which we have access through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are not to take this lightly; we should worship God with due respect. In a synagogue on the sabbath, Jesus teaches a lesson about mercy. When he encounters a woman in need, he places her need above religious regulations. If religious traditions trump mercy, then our priorities are out of alignment.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 1:4-10. How can you trust God to empower you to follow God’s call? How can you encourage others to live into their calling?
Read Psalm 71:1-6. How can you continually praise God as your refuge?
Read Hebrews 12:18-29. How do you discern what is required of you in praising God in the new covenant?
Read Luke 13:10-17. How do you observe the sabbath now? What sabbath practice might you start that puts God’s reign into action?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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