Friday, November 21, 2014

Being gracious and healing on the Sabbath.

 Sometimes it's hard to be gracious.
Luke 13:10-17
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And 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. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, 'Woman, you are set free from your ailment.' 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But 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.' 15But 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? 16And 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?' 17When 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.
Why do we get our feelings hurt when God does things for other people?   The urge to nitpick is so strong, it's irresistible.  The pharisee in this story is jealous.  Jesus had done something for that woman that he could not do.  He nitpicks.  He looks for someone wrong about the wonderful thing that had just happened. 

You shouldn't work on the sabbath.  

I should point out that I'm guilty of this same thing with similarly decent intentions. I am ritualist.  I want everything to be done "right".  Is it OCD?  No.  Is it righteous? Sometimes.  I do it mostly because I care.  I think every time I see that acolyte lighting the Paschal candle last, it should be burning before ANYONE comes in here and you should light your candles off it!  Am I right? Yes. Do I need to worry about stupid crap like that? Not really...

In the case of the pharisee, definitely not. It's jealousy, pure and simple.  The rules are made for people, not people for the rules.  So the next time you find yourself worrying about the rules more than you are the person breaking them, ask yourself if you would treat your pet that way.   If you wouldn't, why the hell would God want you to treat his child that way? That's what the Lord's telling us in this story.  People are more important to God than rules.   Meet people where they are, and give them what they need. 

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