Glendale Church of the Brethren will be receiving the sermon from Pastor Robert Aguierre this Sunday! So, I am taking this opportunity to reflect on our weekly Bible study practice at church.
Throughout the winter Glendale Church of the Brethren has been gathering on Monday evenings from 7:00-8:00pm and Tuesday afternoons from 1:00-2:00pm. We have been looking at different gospel scriptures and then asking ourselves three questions; 1. What does this text teach us about God?, 2. What does this text teach us about humans, 3. What does this text teach us about obedience? It is surprising how difficult it can sometimes be to remain focused on the question at hand, particularly remaining vigilant about answer question number one first, “What does this text teach us about God?” It seems that we want to jump to what we learn as humans, or general truths that we can take away. But we have discovered, through grit and discipline that when we remain rooted in the rhythm of these questions we learn incredible things about God and about ourselves (in that order)!
This past week our groups reflected on Luke 13:10-17. And here’s what we learned:
- Jesus has the power to heal and would not condemn the woman or her illness
- Jesus touches people even if they are “unclean”
- Jesus was a rule breaker/challenger especially when something could keep a person from knowing healing
- Jesus recognizes the need for healing
- People can treat miracles callously like the synagogue ruler who said to come back on days of the week other than the Sabbath for healing
- When people think rules are being broken that could challenge their power, they will fight back
- People were delighted with Jesus like the crowd at the end of the story
- People praise God when they are healed like the woman in the story
- Jesus was obedient to a different way of interpreting the law
- Jesus was obedient to God while, while the synagogue ruler was obedient to other people’s interpretation of the law
- The woman was obedient when she stepped forward
These observations may seem simple, but they unfolded through hours of thoughtful discussion. By placing ourselves closely alongside the text we can begin to imagine the scene, rather than jumping to what we assume the story means for us today. In fact, although we never directly answer the question, what does this story mean for us today? We frequently leave the space with the assurance that God sees us, God reaches out to us, and that we are deeply and unconditionally loved by God.