Luke 13:10-17New International Version (NIV)
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.
THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD – Thanks be to God!
Sue and Jeff sing “On a Clear Day”
On a clear day, a perfect day, you can see forever. There's no clouds, there's no smog, there's no rain or snow or blizzard, no smoke, no bugs – there's nothing that blinds you or distracts you from seeing a great distance or something right in front of you. On a clear day, rise and look around you, you can see every mountain, sea and shore, you can hear from far and near, a world you've never heard before.....on a clear day..
On a CLEAR day; On a MONday we wash; on a TUESday we iron, on a WEDNESday we mend; on a THURSday we churn, on a FRIday we gossip; on a SATurday we bake; on a SUNday we rest.
Or maybe its laundry on Monday, making pasties on Tuesday, eating out on Wednesday playing Mahjong on Thursday, Fish Fry on Friday, Walmart on Saturday, Football on Sunday. And if you are retired, “Everyday is Saturday.”
So on a CLEAR DAY – a clear day? Let's try to CLEAR our minds of all the things that rule our lives, let's take off our blinders, and set aside our distractions.
The woman in today's Gospel reading had one day on her mind – this day. She probably was NOT singing, “On a clear day, I can see forever” because what did she have to sing about, but self pity, frustration, sadness, even despair and doubt? She must have been consumed by her inability to participate as everyone else, right? That is how we would feel, wouldn't we? And why would she even go out in a crowd? Why would she want to call attention to herself – she could save herself the stress and struggle, remorse and negative attention. She could stay home. There she could read her Bible and worship God just the same on her own.. Its this way of thinking that is implied in today's text – that the ruler in the synagogue felt she didn't have any right to come and seek healing on the Sabbath.
Whether we sit in the same place every week, or move from one side to the other, we find a place that we can be comfortable. As we listen to the scriptures being read, sometimes we've never heard it before, so we give it our attention. OR “what does this mean for me?” can be too close for comfort to our own inadequacies. If that's the case, we can identify with someone ELSE that we know who needs to hear this message, because if they did, it would surely make a difference in their life! Being able to see anothers' infirmity is so much easier than looking at ourselves. Its the way the ruler in the synagogue looked at the woman in today's gospel. Its the way we look at her too.
This text makes us think about one day, its about how we decide to have a clear day, or how or when we will interact with our Lord Jesus Christ; how we let our infirmities, our schedules and distractions become the reason to interact with Jesus. The woman comes to “the synagogue” to do what? Regardless of what others think of her she doesn't come to beg Jesus to heal her; or to say, pick me pick me, I am the one most worthy; not to get pity for the ailment that was so obvious to others; she didn't come to be seen by others. No, none of these reasons. The day at the synagogue was the woman's clear day – a time to be in the company of others and to be in communion and share with the people of God.
When we look at her intentions, despite her affliction, we have to ask ourselves if we would do the same thing. Besides a mental, physical or emotional affliction, our afflictions are our timing – our schedules. Our own distractions allow us to decide when or how we should interact with our Lord Jesus Christ. Because as much as we would tell the woman who was crippled to stay away because of her ailment and all the attention she would draw to herself, we might also get the idea that we could find any number of reasons to tell ourselves to refrain from being with Jesus, too. If we stay away because of any number of reasons, we miss out. We can seek God in this place of worship or where ever we are in our daily lives.
If you have ever known the weight of a burden or sin, that seems to be crushing down on you, one that has crippled you; and then if you have known the relief of it suddenly being taken away, you have felt like raising to your feet and shouting and clapping in praise to God, like this woman who had been healed felt, like the joy of a boy doing the zippedy doo da dance!
And when Jesus saw her, he was moved with compassion towards her because of the sight of her misery, and the fact that she was alone. (If she had stayed away she would have missed this opportunity) Jesus issued a command – “he called her to him.” He somehow got the attention of this woman, who made great effort to see him. (Others might have suggested she not struggle to get to him) Jesus might have yelled across the room, “Be healed,” but he did not. He wanted to show her his face – up close and personal.
On a clear day, rise and look around you – do you see Jesus? Jesus will get our attention. Jesus calls out to us, too, because for Jesus, every day is a Clear Day. He sees us just the way we are – with our ailments, our misgivings, our sins, when we are not looking for him, when we don't have time for him, when we don't make time for him, when we are distracted.
Have you seen Jesus my Lord – he's here in plain view.
Take a look, take a look, open your eyes, He'll show love to you.
Have you ever stood in the family with the Lord here in your midst? Seen the face of Christ on each other? Then I say....you've seen Jesus my Lord.
On a clear day, rise and look around you! Take your blinders off, get rid of your distractions! A CLEAR DAY IS A DAY WITH JESUS! Jesus offers us a clear day every day, not just Sundays, not just here in this place. A day clear of sin, a day clear of pain and sadness. On a clear day, Jesus is there for us waiting - to meet us face to face.
On a clear day, you can “Turn your eyes upon Jesus – look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
My friends in Christ - It is not the words that I say to you this morning, but it is the Word of the Lord, the Truth of God as it is in Jesus Christ!
May you discover a clear moment, a clear day with Jesus this week. Participate in worship, attend a Bible study, read a daily devotional, get the daily readings sent to you or find them on our FB page; seek Jesus in your activities in the community – Open your eyes and see clearly, and do the zippety do dah dance! AMEN