Grace and Peace to you,
My sisters and brothers in Christ
Walking in the Living Light
Of the One who has conquered death
Is never ending
Because there is always need for the Gospel
To be Proclaimed
As we pray without ceasing
And move and act and live out our call
Because we follow His footsteps,
Our Savior and Lord
What would it look like,
If our Sabbath time
And Serving moments
Were one in the same?
Because transforming the brokenness of this world
And our collective journeys through this life,
Seemingly does not get a moment of rest, or pause.
(share with the congregation that God’s Work Our Hands once more is coming up this year, and it falls on a day where we collectively as a nation remember the horrors of September 11th. We as Redeemer have already gotten ahead of the game by partnering with LSSI and doing our own GWOH-providing much needed supplies and backpacks for children who need to be equipped and prepared for their first day, week, months of school! How awesomely thrilled was LSSI that congregations like us participated! And as I thought to September, there was still this drive to do something for GWOH because being involved in ministry, doing for others is awesome. So your Pastor has a crazy idea-what if, what if we took pancakes over to our First Responders at the Fire/Police station here in town? Just hold that thought because, yes-we will have a pancake breakfast going on, and Rally Day, right? And we’ve already done the GWOH for this year, right?)
But perhaps it could be framed this way,
That carrying over a meal to those
Who put their lives on the line for those they are called to serve
Is not only own mission,
But a way to share the Good News,
That this place,
Regardless of the day or time,
That we are also here for them as well,
That we open our doors
Inviting them in
Even if all they have time to do,
Is to hear the sermon,
Pass the peace
Getting fed from the Table,
Because of the One,
Who was constantly doing for all of God’s Creation,
Even in the midst of Sabbath.
Can be seen as this moment of release
Release from the overwhelming and demanding presence
Of this broken world
Sabbath is a day of celebration,
Whether you are saint or sinner
Whether you are comfortable
Or you are struggling
Whether you are among the faithful
Or perhaps, lost and yearning for that faith.
Sabbath is a time to come together,
Sabbath can even be a teaching moment,
When it is both a time for rest,
And a time for actively living out the Gospel
But there seems to be some disagreement among those gathered
In our Gospel this morning.
Have you noticed that Jesus goes against the laws quite frequently?
The status quo
Because see, there’s no Sabbath
From a painful
Even shameful existence.
I wonder how visible this nameless woman was
To those who kept the Sabbath
How important was her existence
To the community who she should have been a part of,
Instead of being kept apart,
It was shameful.
Has been used as a weapon
By institutions of religion
As a vehicle for control and suppression
So when this woman,
“with a spirit,
That had crippled her for 18 years”
Dares to make herself visible,
In the presence of Jesus
Jesus stops His teaching
And HEALS HER
REGARDLESS of her status,
And this moment of release from whatever gripped her,
Instead of joining in her praising God,
The leader points fingers,
It was more important
That the Sabbath,
As required by the law,
From the daily reminders
Of how screw up this world
And how horrible we can be to one another,
The cause and effect resting squarely on our shoulders
We have gotten away from what Sabbath means,
Because we have fallen away
From loving one another
From being in relationship with the Creator
In our Gospel
Serves as a reminder
That there still is hopelessness
That affects us, beloved
That affects our sisters and brothers in Christ
Like so many others
We just want a break
From seeing this heartache,
Can we get one day, Lord?
Especially when its insurmountable
And we have no idea how to handle it,
Or cure it.
We miss what it says,
“A woman with a spirit”
How many times have we come across someone homeless?
Who is struggling with mental illness?
The commentaries elude to the fact,
That this woman’s ailments were due to a demonic possession-
We scoff at that now, right?
Easily modern medical science could attribute this to any muscular disease
And that she was probably suffering from dementia,
But this spirit?
Even now we still do not have a grasp on mental illness
And even today,
And blame the sufferer
With our own misconceptions of why
We avoid those who are unfortunately burdened with mental illness
Even though our society has refused to advance mental health,
That affects especially those who have served in our armed forces
Or who have swam through seas of domestic violence and abuse,
Because life has been harsh,
And they are lost,
They have enveloped themselves into the darkness
With the help of drugs
We avoid those on the street corners,
Because we are afraid,
Because they will be begging for food
Rambling, wanting someone to hear and see them as a human being
Pleading, for release from the endless cycle of agony
And for a beginning towards healing
For someone to invite them into sacred and safe spaces
Crying, because they have no hope
Are possessed by a spirit
A spirit of emptiness
That has weighed so heavily upon their person,
That they too are gnarled,
That whispers to them,
“No one wants you
You are not worthy
See, they shun you.”
Do we, beloved
Also hear those empty spirits,
When we are burdened by sins that we continue to carry
Until we too,
Are bent over.
Is not a concept
Is a true opposition
Against the Creator God’s will
And purpose for us
For our lives
Evil preys upon us,
Dividing us from one another
Throwing caustic acid upon our souls,
Until we are blinded from seeing
God, Our Creator
That LOVE and Light in one another.
But the Good News is,
Spoke to this woman’s shame,
And said simply
WITH A WORD
“You are set FREE
From your ailment”
Overcame this evil spirit within her
Pushing back the darkness
Telling this evil,
That it has no claim upon US
Are set FREE
From our sins,
Just as this woman,
We can’t help it!
Every day is a day of thanksgiving!
Every day is an opportunity for service
That’s how I see it,
Because for me, beloved
This is what God has given me.
When I was on the brink of walking away
Because how shameful Christianity had been spoon fed into me
By those who did not come with a loving spirit
Who used the laws, twisting them
So that people would conform to their standards,
That people would be ashamed of who they were
Or shamed that they did not have enough faith
God whispered to them,
God whispered to me
God whispers to us,
We are FREE
From our sins!”
The darkness is absolved
Every day is a new day in God’s eyes,
We can’t help ourselves, right?
But, as Pastor
I cannot do this important work,
As people of Faith,
We are called to do this ministry together!
Whose coming with me
To take breakfast of 9/11
As we do God’s Work,
With our Hands?
Let’s share a little Sabbath joy,
With our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Thanks Be to God.