The Problem with Following Rules...
Luke 13:10-17 CEB
Did I just start a meditation with a preview from an episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG)? Yes, Yes I did. And, just because I am good person and love you all, I will include this clip from the Big Bang Theory featuring the Wesley CRUSHers: (BTW-You don't need this video for the meditation, but why wouldn't you want to watch Sheldon say "Wheaton" menacingly under his breath?)
OK, that was fun. Now moving on. I am sure by now you are wondering what the possible connection is between a 26 year old episode and our revered and holy scripture. Ah, well, let me tell you.
In the episode Jean Luc Picard sends a team down to a planet that is a proverbial Eden. It is perfect in every way. The people are considered beautiful by the crews standard, there is no division, no poverty, and no sickness. No one, anywhere on the planet, ever broke any rules. Wesley Crusher, son to the doctor and a teenager, decides to spend some time with the kids on the planet playing some games. While playing a game of frisbee Wesley goes long and accidentally breaks a small greenhouse. In breaking the glass, Wesley also breaks a rule. It is then the crew learns every punishment, for every broken rule, was death. Wesley was going to be executed.
This episode is opposite from our American culture in two clear ways. We break laws/rules all the time, and breaking those rules results in scaleable punishment if caught. The Captain would spend the remainder of the episode trying to defend Wesley by discussing how ludicrous the punishment was. (I don't know, perhaps messing with their ecosystem and ruining their Eden was the real crime, but I digress.) Jesus, in our scripture also talks about law being ludicrous, but in a different way.
The law in question is working on the Sabbath. God created the Heavens and Earth in six day and on the seventh God rested. In honor and worship of God we are to rest on the seventh day as well. We should not work. Unless... Later in the scripture, the Jewish leaders would concede that if an animal were to fall in a well on the Sabbath, they would retrieve it. In this scripture Jesus points out how one works simply to give their animals water on the Sabbath. If one is willing to break the rules to help an animal, why wouldn't one break the rules to help an afflicted woman?
The point: Sometimes it's about doing what is right instead of following the rules. Rules are well and good, but rules can keep us from relating with one another. When Jesus said, "I have not come to abolish the law, but redeem it," I believe he was talking about redeeming the system to work for the people again, not against it. No one with Jesus could see the afflicted woman over and beyond the rule holding people back from helping her. There is a reason those rules existed to begin with, and that reason is what we should be living, not the rules themselves. So beam me up, LaForge, I think I'm done.