Our texts this week are Isaiah 58 and Luke 13.
In Isaiah, we are told to feed the hungry, to satisfy the needs of the needy, and to honor the Sabbath.
In Luke, Jesus is teaching in the synagogue and he heals a woman who had been crippled by a demonic spirit for eighteen years. The leader of the synagogue is annoyed by this and argues that this man had six other days in the week to heal and that he should not have healed this woman on the Sabbath. Jesus calls him a hypocrite and says how many of you would not untie your ox to get your ox water, essentially saying making that your ox’s needs are met. How much more important is it for the needs of this woman, this daughter of Abraham, your sister in faith, for her to be heal, for her to be released on the Sabbath.
Sabbath literally means to stop.
I felt awkward preaching about Sabbath, because as a pastor and as an American, I tend to be a workaholic. We are a nation of workaholics. I know the Sabbath and I know the important of the Sabbath, and yet I am horrible about keeping Sabbath. I am horrible about taking rest. I am horrible about giving myself the time to be restored.
In the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in American), we have what they call the Wellness Wheel. It is six pieces of our lives that is wrapped in together by our Spiritual Well-being. The six pieces are Intellectual, Emotional, [Social], Physical, Financial, and Vocational. These are six pieces of our lives and when one piece of that is lacking, we are not at the best of our well-being. We are not whole. We are not fully restored.
The Sabbath gives us the opportunity to take the time, away from our busy schedules, to bring ourselves back into balance, to bring ourselves back into well-being and wholeness.
When I was younger, my mother would literally lock the world out. We would have days when we would unplug the phone. We closed the blinds. We locked the door. And we focused solely on one another and enjoying each other’s company. That has not happened in probably over ten years.
Yet, this next weekend my mom and my sister are flying in. We are having a girls’ weekend. And on that Sunday, we will be locking the door, closing the blinds, unplugging the phone, and the cellphones and tablets will be going to “Do Not Disturb” mode. So that we can simply stop, rest, enjoy one another’s company, and be restored.
My prayer is that each one of us gets a little bit better about stopping, resting, and allowing ourselves to be restored to wholeness and to the full capability of our well-being, because sometimes in this world it is difficult to do that.
May you remember the Sabbath,
may you get the rest you need,
may you be restored to wholeness.
Scriptures: Isaiah 58: 9b – 14
Originally Preached on 22 August 2016