Sunday, August 26, 2007

Prayer For the Good Use of Leisure

Coast Guard Beach on St. Simons Island, Georgia

Our Gospel reading for tomorrow is Luke 13:10-17 in which we read that Jesus gets criticized for healing on the Sabbath in the midst of Synagogue worship. Jesus was there teaching and when a crippled woman walked in, Jesus stopped what he was doing and healed her. It was time.

The Gospel says that this woman had "a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw he, he called her over and said, 'Woman, you are set free from your ailment.'" Jesus then laid his hands on her, and "immediately she stood up straight and began praising God."

I have wondered about the order of events in his passage. Did the woman come to the synagogue knowing Jesus was there, expecting to be healed? Whatever the order, the woman was healed and it was Sabbath, the day of rest set aside as holy to God. Jesus was using his holy day to do good.

Resting helps us to get the burdens off our backs so that we can stand up straight and praise God. Do you have a day of rest set aside as holy? God is very keen on that idea, and now health care providers have gotten on the bandwagon. The doctors think it is good for our blood pressure. Here is another instance in which The Book of Common Prayer does not let us down:

O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (page 825, prayer number 32)

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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