Main Text: Isaiah 58:9b-14 (Hebrews 12:18-29, Luke 13:10-17)
The people of Israel had seen the highest heights of prosperity only to fall to the lowest depths of despair as everything they had built fell apart. The more they focused on protecting what they had above doing what was right, the more the fabric of community began to come apart. This made them vulnerable both from the inside and to forces outside. Amazingly, the very things they fought each other over and sacrificed for were lost anyway. Does any of this sound familiar to us as a nation. Are we not also seeing the fabric of community falling apart? Are we not becoming more vulnerable to powers both inside and outside? Without trust, cooperation and love, a family, congregation, community or nation will not be able to stand. When we are more afraid of losing what we have then we are about doing what is right, we also become vulnerable. This reading from Isaiah is a word of hope to a people who had lost everything, but also a word of instruction. God is saying that if they will remove the behaviors that divided them and focus on doing the right thing for the good of all, their light will rise from the darkness. The reading from Hebrews invites us to build our lives on what God is creating, which is a city that can’t be shaken and will stand for all eternity. In the Gospel reading Jesus healed a woman who was crippled on the Sabbath. It was the right and loving thing to do, but the leadership would rather focus on what they had made of the law then the love it was intended to evoke. We also can be a light in the darkness when we practice kingdom behavior and live with integrity. Our light will rise in the darkness as we Live God’s Love and make it the basis of our community and life together.