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A message for the week starting on Sunday 21 August 2022

Lectionary Week: 11th Sunday of Pentecost

Prescribed Texts: Jeremiah 1:4-10,  Psalms 71:1-6,  Hebrews 12:18-29,  Luke 13:10-17

Freedom To Do Good

Focus Text: Luke 13:10-17

The story of the crippled woman healed on the Sabbath brings many issues and problems to the surface, especially of the way religious leaders viewed and followed practices and traditions, as well as their daily living. I’m sure many of us find this piece of scripture fitting that healing and deliverance took place on the Sabbath. Any day of the week certainly would do too, but surely even more so on the Sabbath. But clearly, according to the religious rulers of then, this was classified as work, therefore not expected or acceptable on a holy day.

I like the fact that Jesus notices and sees this woman, her problem and plight, and calls her forward, and delivers her. She did not need to ask or approach Jesus with a plea for deliverance or healing. She probably lived by the rules of the day. Therefore, Jesus challenged the rules of their time.

Today, I wonder, are there beliefs, practices, rules, laws, perceptions, mindsets, ideologies etc. that prevent us from doing certain necessary good towards others? How unfortunate it would be that we see need and for whatever reasons we attach to it, turn the other way and continue with our business instead of reaching out.

The world has long moved on since the time of this story. Some places are still society-focused, while others are more individual-based. For instance, why wait till my next spring cleaning before I look for that piece of clothing which I know is much needed by someone else? This is just a small example; we can each find other examples that are more relevant in our own situation.

To make matters worse, verse 14 shows that the synagogue leader was angered by what Jesus had done, but He (Jesus) points out his hypocrisy and challenges him on how he weighs out situations. This clearly indicates how some decisions and rules are made, without attaching the right weight and value to it. How is it more important to ensure the well-being of livestock, in comparison to that of a fellow human whose well-being is important too? It does not lesson the importance of providing food and water to animals, but compassion cannot be paused when the Lord has opened our eyes to the plight of another.

To think about:

  • Neglecting to do good is a sin in God’s eyes when we have the power and ability to do so.
  • How do we worship God – what is worship to God? What is service to Him? What is compassion towards others?
  • Whenever we are tempted to postpone help and compassion, take note, and find the root. What value do we place on people, situations, even those we are silent about because they are linked to our traditions and practices as individuals, families, clans, churches, and societies?

Written by: Ms. Minenhle Moyo, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator