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Between Sundays for Week of August 29, 2022

Are you a rule follower? Pastor Hoffman is! (For the record, Pastor Amy is too.) In her sermon on Sunday, Pastor Hoffman remembered the knot in her stomach that tightens when encountering rules being broken and facing the dilemma of whether or not to go along.
Sunday’s gospel reveals the conflict that emerges when Jesus frees a women from a crippling condition on the sabbath. Bearing the traditions of generations who came before him, the synagogue leader rebukes Jesus for breaking the commandment against working on the sabbath day. And the woman? She stands up straight for the first time in eighteen years and immediately begins praising God. As we’ve come to expect from Jesus, he names the hypocrisy that he sees before him. Even ox and donkey are untied to be watered on the sabbath. “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham . . . be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” Jesus asks.
We are left asking: how will we respond to the freedom that Jesus’ death and resurrection provides us? Will we be like the religious leader who remains bound to the traditions that he has inherited? Will we be like the woman, standing tall and offering praise, immediately aware of weight that has been lifted from her? Any given day the answer might change. But it’s always a question worth asking.

The Word Logo

The law says no work on the Sabbath. But Jesus is on a mission. He sees a woman so bent over, unable to stand up straight, and doesn’t hesitate. All the leader of the synagogue sees is that Jesus violated the rules of the Sabbath.  He doesn’t see this act for what it is: God doing what God does, releasing God’s people from what holds us captive. How often do we miss taking part in or celebrating what God is doing – freeing, renewing, resurrecting – because we’re holding on too tightly to our own expectations for how and where and when God ought to do God’s work?


Many are surprised to discover that the tallest buildings in the world are made to move. There is a good bit of “give” engineered into the structure of the buildings so that as the wind blows and the buildings experience environmental stressors, they’re able to give a little and remain standing. Palm trees, similarly, have a good bit of sway in their structure, allowing hurricane force winds to blow them, but allowing them—usually, if the soil is strong—to remain rooted. Perhaps learning to sway, being flexible in our faith and expectations, is the way to remain solid in this life.