Sunday, 21 August 2016

Prospect
The Rev’d Robert Warren
Luke 13:10-17

But 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? And 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?"

A policeman scans the crowd – his eyes and ears are tuned to sudden movement or loud noises. A doctor or a nurse looks at patients and concentrates on the presence of symptoms or pathology. A
bank manager is interested in our spending behavior or credit history. Classroom teachers keep an eye out for anybody wandering from the common task at hand. Misbehavior, illness, error or carelessness
are some of the things that people exhibit. On one hand we should be thankful for the specialists out there who can keep an eye on “a piece of what it is to be a human being” and protect us from
misadventure in that particular area. We’re better for it.

Specialists might need to be reminded however, in their worst moments, that the “bit of the human”, which they know so well, does not sum up any of their students, clients or patients. The person in
front of them is more than their area of expertise. Specialists need to file away those detailed loan application forms and hang up their gun or their stethoscope and recognize that the sick person, the delinquent or the inattentive student is, first of all, a person of value created in the image of God and, above all, worthy of love.

The leader of a small-town synagogue in the Galilee failed to grasp this point about the healing of a sick woman on the Sabbath day by Jesus. He felt it his duty to make the point that a potential offense
had been committed and, looked at from one optique the actions of Jesus and this sick woman suggest an offense could conceivably have occurred. Much of what Jesus expresses in his parables, his pronouncements and his miracles, however, shows that there is a larger will on the part of God for wholeness and the restoration of his human family – something which steps over the strict enforcement of the rules or the limited vision of our own specialties. We know we are whole people - not merely clients of the bank. We yearn to be recognized, known and loved. Should we not extend
that same tenderness to those around us – to those whom God already recognizes, knows and loves?