Collect and Readings for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity – Jeremiah 1.4-10, Isaiah 58.9b-end, Psalm 71.1-6, Psalm 103.1-8, Hebrews 12.18-end, Luke 13.10-17The Prayer for today Let your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The crippled woman, who made her way into the synagogue on that Sabbath day would have had her eyes, as always, fixed on the floor in front of her. Her bent back meant that she had to put up with a very narrow field of vision. When Jesus released her spine to move from its locked position, she could at last look ahead, up and around with a wonderful new freedom, which thrilled her and set her praising God. Her life would have changed completely now that her 'outlook' had been so freed.
Others in that congregation were equally locked, with a cripplingly narrow field of spiritual vision. They had reduced the keeping of the Law to a complicated set of detailed rules and had spent so much energy focusing on these that t hey could no longer see the spirit and essence of the Law, guiding people to love God and love one another. When they were faced with the possibility of being released from their narrow field of vision, they could see it only in terms of broken rules.
Not only, Jesus, but also all the prophets of the Old Testament and all those commissioned from the New Testament down to today, are called by God to speak out and challenge people's assumptions and prejudices – to straighten the spiritual backs of the narrowly visioned. God longs for his people to be free, and wherever people have become spiritually jammed, God raises up someone to offer them release and a fresh start.
Today we are urged to take God up on his offer of release and new vision, and not to miss out on the possibility of our whole life and outlook being transformed just because we have become used to living and behaving in a particular way. As the crippled woman found, it's worth straightening up.
Some things to reflect on:
Why were the religious leaders finding it so hard to accept Jesus when they already proclaimed their faith in his Father?
Why do many people prefer to steer clear of too deep an involvement with God in their lives?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson