On Sunday, we went to church, and the pastor shared a message.
It was very good and interesting and edifying.
I don't actually remember much of it.
I'm sure it was about the Kingdom of God.
Which is a pretty broad subject, considering. It was the first in a series.
And it was really good, but what i remember the most was a message that probably wasn't in the pastor's notes.
Amongst all the many different scriptures used to make many different points, the pastor read from Luke, chapter 13. I'll paraphrase.
The story is that it's the Sabbath day, and Jesus goes into the synagogue and sees a woman who was "bent double." "Bent double" is pretty extreme. It says she had been that way for 18 years. Wow! That's a long time!
Anyway, Jesus sees the woman and heals her. In the synagogue. On the Sabbath.
And i guess folks started to gather when the crooked lady was able to stand up straight, because the Bible says that there was a synagogue official who saw all the people gathering and told them that they needed to get healed on one of the other six days of the week. Not on the Sabbath. No healing on the Sabbath. That's the rule.
'Cause of course the rule is - no work on the Sabbath. And apparently healing is work. Maybe it is. But listen to Jesus' response:
Well, first he called his criticizers hypocrites. But then Jesus compares what He did (healing the crooked lady) to a farmer (or maybe just anyone in those days) who, even on the Sabbath, will untie his ox and lead it to water.
I hope i can communicate what that spoke to me. Because it made me immediately start crying. Happy crying.
Maybe because of my becoming a wanna-be-farmer these past few years, i imagined the care and concern and kind hand of the ox farmer, or what have you, as he untied his charge, this somewhat helpless, tied up animal, and cared for his needs, in this case, the need for water.
It made me think about how helpless my birds are if i just leave them in the coop all day with no food and no water. It wouldn't be pretty. So, i, every day, even on days that i'm dying-dog-sick, can barely drag myself out of bed, or have hurt myself and have to use a chair for a crutch just to walk around...........even on those days, i will go to my chickens and my ducks, and i will open the door for them so that they can get to food and water. They are helpless, and i am the one who can make sure they have what they need.
In a similar way, the Lord cares for me. I am His charge. I am helplessly contained and starved if He does not set me free. So He sets me free.
When this scripture occurred to me this way, i was overwhelmed with a warm feeling of being perfectly cared for by the One who sees everything and knows what i need. He sees all the details i can't even imagine to worry about. And He cares for me. In the verb way.
Some people think that God cares for us, in the feelings way, but He just leaves things to us to work out. Obviously we have free will, but i believe our Lord wants to be involved in every little thing. He wants to be the center, not just a peripheral. He cares for us.
In a similar story in Matthew 12, Jesus compares healing on the Sabbath to a shepherd rescuing his sheep from a pit on the Sabbath. And then He follows it up by pointing out that man is much more valuable than a sheep. Thus, "it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
I hope you see it. I pray you see/understand/feel what i feel about these scriptures now. I feel so very, perfectly, cared for. I know that my Farmer/Shepherd/Father/Lord will not fail to lead me to water, to rescue me from the pit, every day. Even the Sabbath day.