Jeremiah 1:4-10. Jeremiah is called by God to be a prophet, but protests that he is too young. God promises to put God’s words into Jeremiah’s mouth.
Psalm 71:1-6. A prayer for God’s protection and care. OR Psalm 103:1-8: A song of praise and thanksgiving for God’s forgiveness, healing and goodness.
Hebrews 12:18-29. Unlike the people of Israel who were afraid of God’s appearing at the mountain, followers of Christ have been invited into God’s grace and the joyous community of worship in Christ. We have received an unshakeable kingdom, and must be careful to listen to Christ’s words, and worship God in thankfulness.
Luke 13:10-17. Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath, incurring the criticism of the synagogue leader. Jesus points out that everyone ‘works’ on the Sabbath, and that it is right and good that she should be freed.
Rev Tania writes:
In today’s readings two significant ideas come together: “Sabbath” and “God’s Kingdom”. A true understanding of Sabbath (which links, of course, with the idea of Jubilee), must lead us into the justice, mercy, equity and inclusivity of God’s reign. In fact, one of the simplest ways to embrace a “Kingdom-lifestyle” is to begin to practice Sabbath well. That is the challenge the Lectionary offers us this week.
Closely aligned with the “Sabbath-way of life” is the word “kingdom” which comes through in a number of the readings. These two biblical words are closely related. The Sabbath is a foundational element of the whole Jubilee system of justice and equity that God gave to Israel, ensuring sufficient rest, and – arising from the Manna story – discouraging hoarding and accumulation.
The Kingdom, as best represented by the “mission statement” of Jesus in Luke 4, is also about Jubilee, about justice and equity, and about ensuring “shalom” (peace and well-being) for all. This is the unshakeable kingdom of the writer of Hebrews. This is the call the message of Jeremiah that will bring down unjust kingdoms and build up just ones. This is the prayer and the praise of the Psalms. In healing this crippled woman on the Sabbath, and teaching that mercy is a Sabbath-activity, Jesus embodies the justice, grace and welcome of God’s unshakeable kingdom.
The theme, then, this week could be titled “God’s Sabbath Kingdom”.
I invite you to reflect on this from the Book: The Hour That Changes Everything – How worship forms us into the people God wants us to be:
“A significant part of the practice of Sabbath is aligning ourselves with God’s rhythm. As rhythm organises a piece of music in time according to speed and pattern, so Sabbath organises our lives according to God’s sense of time – God’s tempo and pattern. This is more than simply giving ourselves a breather, or allowing ourselves time to rest so that we can launch back into our busyness with renewed vigour. Sabbath is about learning to recognise the significance of moments in time. It is about learning to recognise God’s tempo and pattern for us, our community and our world, and it is about matching our pace with these eternal rhythms.
May worship lead you into a life of true Sabbath-keeping this week.
Blessings as we live a Gospel-centered life! Rev Tania