Sermon Notes – Luke 13:10-17

In this text we get to see how Jewish Torah debates happen. Jesus is not overturning Jewish law in his response to the synagogue leader. Rather, he is working within the Jewish tradition to broaden and strengthen the Sabbath grounding in “the necessity of God and God’s purposes to heal, liberate, and unbind” (David Jacobsen, www.workingpreacher.com) 

The main message from this text is not only teaching what it means to honor the Sabbath. At the very heart of this story, there is something deeper. It is not only how to practice a specific element of faith, it is how do we allow God to work at the heart of everything we do. It encourages us to ask ourselves – “How do we catch ourselves limiting ourselves to previous understandings? How do we continue to seek encouragement to broaden our horizons?”

Some possibilities:
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Coming to church each Sunday broadens your horizons! As Christians we seek God in every moment in our lives, not just on Sundays, and Sundays give us a chance to come together and touch base with what God is doing and teaching in others’ lives. We are always studying and praying in our daily lives, and on Sundays we seek to learn from one another with curiosity, joy, and appreciation.
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Put yourself in new situations. This last week I attended a worship service at a synagogue for the first time. For the past two weeks I have visited the Transitions shelter/day center and helped lead a chapel service. Is there a place like Cooperative Ministries where you could volunteer? I promise you it will be new each time you do!

Learn from the lumberjack.  There was a new lumberjack on the job who was eager to prove his worth, and the first day, he cut down 20 trees. The veteran lumberjacks congratulated him and said that he had talent, and soon he might even be able to cut down 35 trees a day, like them. The next day, the new lumberjack started work early and cut his lunch short, wanting to prove himself. At the end of the day, though, he had only cut down 16 trees. The next day he worked even harder, but cut down even fewer trees. He finally asked the other lumberjacks what he was doing wrong. The only answer they gave was, how often did you sharpen your ax? Not at all, was the answer. The new lumberjack hadn’t wanted to waste any time.

Seeking new ways to understand things is like sharpening your ax. Without it, our harvest will be smaller and smaller. If we don’t take the time to serve others, to pray, or listen, or show kindness; if we don’t put ourselves in new situations, we will get smaller and smaller.

God is inviting us to expand our horizons. How will you accept that invitation this week?

Pastor Katherine