1 Sunday, August 25, 2013 The 14th Sunday After Pentecost Pastor Dena Williams Denver, Colorado Isaiah 58:9b—14

The children of Israel have returned from exile and now God promises that wherever they practice justice and mercy, the ruins will be rebuilt, there will be light in the darkness, there will be a time of new beginnings—a message of hope! Psalm 103:1—8 God gives us mercy and love. Hebrews 12:18-29 (Confusing . . .) We need not be afraid because we have new life in Christ. Luke 13:10-17 The Holy Gospel according to the Community of St. Luke in the 13th Chapter Glory to you, O Lord Now Jesus 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.

2 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 Jesus 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. The Gospel of the Lord Praise to you, O Christ

Shocking! It’s time to move that statue of Moses from the back of the church to the altar so we can worship it. It’s time we stopped worshipping on Sunday; let’s worship on Tuesdays instead.

3 It’s really not our responsibility to look after our elderly parents—let the government and strangers take care of that. If a clerk at a tire store disagrees with you—throw a tire through the store’s plate glass window And you married people—don’t worry about having a girl friend or a boy friend on the side, it’s okay. If your neighbor has something you want, steal it. If it serves your purpose, lie about it. Shocking, Pastor! Really! So shocking that you’re pretty sure I’m just kidding. Well, yes, I am. Jesus was not. He comes to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He teaches the people. Then he turns to a broken woman and heals her. And that, my friends, is shocking to the leader of the synagogue, as shocking as anything I said to you a moment ago. It’s one of the ten commandments after all— “For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm;

4 therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.” Keep the Sabbath day . . . Do you remember when we took that commandment seriously in this country? Some of you do! I remember my Uncle Herman who lived across the Mississippi River in Iowa came to Illinois on Sundays because he couldn’t buy beer in Iowa on that day. What do you remember about all that? What was and was not allowed in your town or in your family on the Sabbath? My Aunt Juanita, who had five children, did no laundry or housework on Sunday. [Time for stories . . .] I wonder, then what it really means to “keep the Sabbath”? Jesus reminds the leader of the synagogue that even he takes his ox and his donkey to get water on the Sabbath and that is something that is explicitly forbidden in the commandment, isn’t it? Yesterday I sat beside a friend’s bed at the hospital. She struggles to walk and I thought about today’s gospel. I told her the story and we prayed for healing. As I walked back to my car I thought about how if I could touch her and heal her I would do so no matter what day of the week it happened to be. Jesus touches and heals this broken woman on the Sabbath.

5 Jesus seems to be teaching us that keeping Sabbath is about caring for one another, helping one another, no matter what day it happens to be. Perhaps keeping Sabbath isn’t really about not watering your donkey, or buying or selling beer, or doing laundry, or . . . or . . . Perhaps keeping Sabbath is about helping others, allowing others to help you, lending a hand to a neighbor, spending time with family and friends, coming together with your church community for worship and fellowship, sharing love and joy and compassion with one another. These are the ways Jesus calls us to keep Sabbath no matter what day of the week it is. For when we keep Sabbath, God’s love is shared, and the Kingdom of God comes among us, no matter what day it happens to be. Amen