August 20, 2007

Looking Ahead to August 26, 2007--13th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
  • Jeremiah 1:4-10
  • Psalm 71:1-6 (VU p.789 Part One)
  • Luke 13:10-17

The Hymns are:

  • #245 Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet
  • #357 Tell Me the Stories of Jesus
  • #624 Give to Us Laughter
  • 646 We Are Marching (sung twice)

The Sermon Title is Stand Up, Stand Up through Jesus

Early Thoughts: So many years of struggle. So many years of pain. 18 years of being bent over and oppressed. That is the situation in which this woman finds herself. And the story is about how she finds freedom. Yes there is a debate about how to mark the Sabbath but from the perspective of this "daughter of Abraham" the story is about the day she was set free.

Freedom, that is one of the greatest gifts the Messiah brings, freedom from what oppresses or holds you down. Indeed that freedom is one of the ways we are brought back into full relationship with God and neighbour, it is part of the at-one-ment process.

So many of us are bent over in so may ways. Sometimes we don't even know it until something happens and we can stand straight again. Sometimes our bondage is so subtle, or so complete, or so overwhelming that we accept it as "normal". I have a suspicion that this woman must have felt that her condition was now normal after all that time. But even tehn there is still a chance for freedom.

So what is bending you over? What load keeps you from being able to be who you truly are? And more to the point, what would it mean to be freed from that load?

In the old hymn by GEorge Duffield we read:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with prayer;
where duty calls or danger,
be never wanting there.
In the strength of the Christ we are freed from our bondage. In the armour of prayer and Divine relationship we are able to stand tall. And when we are set free, we can accomplish great things. May God help us on the road to freedom and relief.

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