August 21, 2016, Love Outside the Box – Mtr. Kathryn Boswell

Below is an outline of the sermon. To listen to the sermon, click here:  121229_001

Turning 60 – increasing desire for routine, schedule, control

Today’s gospel – synagogue officials were so angry that the healing of the woman disrupted the proper order of Sabbath rest and synagogue service that they were unable to rejoice over the miracle of healing.

The story – the woman with terrible arthritis – the offense of healing on the Sabbath.

18 years – for us, that would be since 1998 (when V was born)

the woman didn’t ask to be healed;Jesus saw her and chose to reach out to her

the ruler reprimanded the woman and other sick people, not Jesus (hard to criticize someone who has just performed a miracle)

Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of refusing compassion to the woman because it is the Sabbath, and yet caring for their animals regularly on the Sabbath.

Sticking to the rules blinded them to the needs of another human being, and to the mercy and power of God.

Jesus was always offending people by working outside the box of tradition and proper social ettiquette. What was most radical about Jesus is that he really saw people, people everyone else overlooked, and when he saw them, he had compassion on them.

Jesus saw lepers crying for help outside the city limits; he saw the blind beggar by the roadside and the little tax collector Zaccheus up in a tree; he saw the Samaritan woman at the well. He saw the little children his disciples were trying to hush up so they wouldn’t bother the great Teacher and disrupt his schedule. He saw people, and he loved them.

Love doesn’t happen on schedule. Love happens when we really see another person’s need, whatever it might be, and choose to have compassion for them. Love that is made to fit into our schedule and our budget, and according to our rules isn’t love any more at all – it is mere convenience. Can you imagine if your husband or wife gets a phone call saying that a dear friend has passed away, and you look at your day planner and schedule a time that will be convenient for you to sit down with them and comfort them? Convenient love isn’t love at all.

And people’s pain and need is almost never convenient for us – floods and wars and cancer and depression – human suffering doesn’t abide by anybody’s rules. That means we can only love if we are willing to let go of our comfortable schedules and routine and what we think of as the proper way, in order to stop and really see the person in need.

In fact, that is a big part of living in readiness, alert and ready not only for Jesus’ coming at the end of time, but for his presence in the face of our suffering brother or sister today. “Whatever you do for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you have done for me.”

It was Jesus’ way to ruin schedules and upset decorum and generally disrupt the way people in control thought things should be, because he wasn’t about rules and schedules and tradition. He was about love.

We are followers of a radical lover, and that means we are called to love radically ourselves, willing to step out of our comfort zone and out of the norms and expectations of the world, outside the box of our routine and schedule and expectations: so that we can really see another person in need, and reach out to them in compassion.

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