Sunday, August 22, 2010

calling and ministry

Good morning friends,
Our first reading presents Jeremiah's calling to be a prophet. Many of the prophets include the story of how they were called to their ministry. In many cases, like here, they were reluctant to take up the mission. Jonah is the extreme case, running in the opposite direction from where God sent him, but we see Jeremiah too protesting that he doesn't have what it takes. The key to Jeremiah's ministry and to ours is that it's not just Jeremiah or us doing the ministry. God is with us in our calling, guiding, pushing, comforting, challenging, strengthening.

Our passage from Luke gives us an example of ministry that challenges the rules because of God's calling. Jesus sees a woman trapped in bondage to illness and sees it as part of the ongoing struggle between God and the evil powers of the world. The religious leader is upset because Jesus is healing on the sabbath. Jesus makes it clear that the law is important, but that it isn't a chain to prevent ministry. Jesus looks at places in the law where it's clear the absolute rest of the sabbath is disturbed: livestock are led to water, animals are untied, if an animal is in danger it is rescued. These pieces of "work" don't break the sabbath, they merely allow sabbath rest for the animal. Jesus argues that this is what he's doing when he heals the woman. He isn't working on the sabbath, he is removing Satan's chains from the woman so that she may have a share of God's rest after 18 years of bondage.

May God always help us to see the truth in every situation and to act with his love. God bless,

Jeremiah 1:1-10
The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3It came also in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

4Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 6Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” 7But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, 8Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” 9Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. 10See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Luke 13:10-17
10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day." 15But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?" 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

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