So we gathered last Sunday. And it was a delightful gift (as always) but also because it had been a couple of weeks since we had gathered around the table. There was a Sunday off (and praise God I do believe it was needed!) And then we had our all area (ecumenical) church picnic! Such a gift getting to worship with believers who we don’t always get to see on Sunday mornings & to be outside — on a BEAUTIFUL day & with SO much food after?! Gift gift gift….and did anyone notice how we got to enjoy it before there was that storm! (Continued prayers for our neighbors in Candor as they deal with the aftermath).
So we had been on a bit of our own little mini-vacation, which meant when we gathered together last Sunday morning, after praying there was not preassigned homework to “check-in” with. And so the opening invitation was if anyone had something heavy – light – or otherwise that was in their spirit to share — the floor (or table) was open to listen. And we did. People shared some things on their hearts — things that were more or less weighty. And a thing happened….we were able to hear people’s hearts and then it delved into some tangents of deeper theological questions, insights, other questions — we were having a good old fashioned conversation — which could engage on multiple levels & layers & which also could uncover different opinions, thoughts, even theological leanings & understandings. These conversations (TRUE CONVERSATIONS, where we are vulnerable enough to listen and also vulnerable enough to be honest — even if what we have to say is not what someone else thinks!) are HARD. It was beautiful to be able to share this table with us all as we engaged in conversation…I look forward to more & always to honest sharing that is received humbly and with grace! This is one way I think the church in it’s best sense helps God to continue working on us as individuals (it is one way God helps us to grow in knowledge & grace….a theme we discussed in the all church picnic actually!) So the conversation was rich, and had it’s origins last Sunday in that space of when death surprises us (does it ever not, in some way at lease?) and thinking of the final things — especially for those who are not ourselves (because let’s be honest, we don’t even necessarily know our own hearts, much less the heart of anyone else!)
And then….after even some passionate conversation! — we were silent together before turning to the scripture selection for the morning, Luke 13:-16(17). We read three times, with silence in between & in the final reading we heard verse 17 as well.
And we started sharing what popped up with the Holy Spirit’s guiding. We noticed this woman was bent over. That she had been crippled for 18 years. That Jesus spoke to her — but that the healing came with the laying on of hands. We noticed that Jesus saw her — she didn’t ask for anything — AND when she was healed she worshiped! Of course we also noticed that the healing was not fully welcomed, that Jesus caught some flack for healing on the Sabbath — I mean, what were the last 6 days for, right? And in talking a bit about missing out on the healing that was offered — in focusing on what was “wrong” (dare we think it was sinful to set someone free on the Sabbath?) there was insight of the need to consider the “spirit” as compared to the “letter” of the law….and about how Christ is the fulfillment of torah (the law, instructions from God)…and this OF COURSE led us to a most important (delightful perhaps even?) homework assignment for the week:
Answer (honestly of course 🙂 ) these questions:
- What is Sabbath?
- Do you observe it (Sabbath)?
- If no, why not?
- If yes, how?
Y’all…I don’t think that this conversation, this theme of Sabbath is going to be answered in 1 or 2 Adult Study sessions. I mean, could any topic really be fully answered in such a short time? But the invitation is to consider the questions and to have the honest conversation with humility, praying that the Holy Spirit will continue to speaking to us as we submit ourselves to God.
In Christ y’all ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater