August 21, 2022

C39: The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C (2022)

Debie Thomas

In today’s passage from Luke 13:10-17, a ‘bent over’ woman, crippled for eighteen years, shows up at the synagogue. She doesn’t seek out Jesus, but Jesus sees her. He puts his sermon on hold, lays hands on her, and heals her. “Immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.” Debie Thomas, Minister of Lifelong Formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, California and blogger at Journey with Jesus, admits that she stumbles over that line. Thomas ponders, “Why don’t I think of the church as a place where people unable to stand up on their own can come to have their dignity restored and their full potential realized?” She says, “Unfortunately, the Gospel story itself offers the answer.” The leader of the synagogue becomes angry that Jesus didn’t follow tradition. Thomas says, “What the leader misses is the heart of the Sabbath, the heart of God’s law, the heart of the tradition. What the leader misses is the brave, unrestricted compassion that trumps legalism in God’s kingdom every single time. This is a compassion that doesn’t cling to orthodoxy for orthodoxy’s sake. It’s a compassion that consistently sees the broken body, the broken soul, the broken spirit — before it sees the broken commandment.” Listen as Thomas ponders, “What would it be like if the church were known for this?”

Manuscript available: click HERE