Luke 13: 10-20
The 18 years of suffering carried in the form and substance of a “temple woman” reimagines the practice of Sabbath in this Christ encounter. The woman embodies a broken structure, the “18 year” descriptive a known ancient code phrase for “suffering and bondage.”
The story though begs a more feminine interpretation. The imagery of being turned in on oneself yet asked by Christ to move forward intones a message not often recognized as Christian. Jesus’ humiliating argument in favor of Sabbath grace and healing referencing the need to water a thirsty ass shames the “keepers” of sabbath places. And despite the insulting reference the crowd of broken spirits- I suspect many of whom were women -respond with delight and seem energized!
Jesus further encourages with parables of yeast and mustard seeds, moving then to kitchens and gardens– home places for women. The mustard seed would stir up thoughts of healing as it was used medicinally in a paste with “new wine” and the transforming power of yeast worked into flour would be obvious to the feminine ear. The message that Sabbath is as close as your kitchen and near as your home seems obvious. These are “shaping” places for sure.
The miracle, the healing call and response, rises from a feminine space of both release and synthesis–freedom and enmeshment, sacrament and incarnation.
We reshape our brokenness mid Sabbath moments of everyday life.