Going back to school is often a difficult transition because rules have been lax over the summer and now are reinstated – bedtimes resume, hands must be raised to talk, and curfews are enforced. “I’m already sick of rules,” my kids come home saying. Rules are helpful things that provide structure and guidance for our own good, but taken too far and perhaps rather than just being sick of the rules, the rules can make us sick and make us suffer.
Sunday’s gospel speaks of taking the rules so seriously that they make us sick as a community. In Luke’s story, we meet a woman who has been crippled and bent over for 18 years. Only after the yoke of suffering has been removed from the woman with a spinal deformity can she truly enjoy the sabbath blessing that the able-bodied and privileged leaders enjoy. These passages remind us not to view sabbath rest as an individual perk. Rather, sabbath is a moral and ethical responsibility for the community to ensure that all beings—including animals and Earth itself—are given the rest, relief, and justice they need and deserve. Sometimes following the heart and intention of the rule rather than following the letter of the law to the point of perfection is what’s needed for true Sabbath. Join us Sunday as Deacon Bri preaches and invites us to wonder if our own rules might sometimes lead to sickness rather than to sabbath.
Image: Stained-glass, Church of St. Patrick, Edina, Minnesota. Photo copyright © Lucinda Naylor. Used by permission.