Tuesday, February 23rd Luke 13:10-17

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. Luke 13:10-17

Someone called it “majoring in minors.” Focusing on picayune details of life while blind to the bigger picture. We in the church continue down that path, to our own destruction and the diminishment of the ministries to which we’ve been called. This is nothing new.

For 18 years a woman limped painfully into the presence of God. Lacking anything we would recognize as modern medical care, she only knew that she hurt and that her body was being wracked by a force more powerful than she was. Each year she bent over a little bit more, out of pain rather than piety. And when she wasn’t in worship, she was the lady in the village about whom others whispered as she passed by:

“I wonder what she did that God would punish her so severely?”

Then Jesus came to town.

Perhaps she had so blended into the background of life that people didn’t really notice her anymore. And if they noticed her at all, did they see the woman who was bent over or did they just see her disfigurement? But Jesus saw her.

“Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” He touched her. And she was set free.

But then the pastors spoke up. “What does he think he is doing? Not only is he interrupting the well crafted liturgy that we’ve prepared but he is doing WORK on the SABBATH day? Who does he think he is? WE are the only ones who get to work on the Sabbath day because WE’RE special. We’re the ones who stand in front of the room. We’re the ones who get all the attention. We’re the ones who get to decide what we are going to do and what we are not going to do when OUR (oh, excuse me, I meant…) when GOD’S people come to worship. We can’t stand for this!”

And so it is, that those who can’t stand the unbelievable, powerful and saving love of God poured out on the world end up hobbled over, bent at the waist, not in piety but in self righteousness, bowing to themselves, while the broken and redeemed sinners of the world dance with joy.

You go get ‘em girl! Dance the night away!

Let us pray: Dear Lord, heal the blindness of our spirits that bend us away from the power of your healing love. Guide us in putting people first, let not the broken ones disappear from our view. Lead us into the kind of repentance that opens our ministries to the wideness of your mercy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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12 Responses to “Tuesday, February 23rd Luke 13:10-17”

  1. Carl Strong Says:

    Glad your devotions are back. I really missed that devotional reading.
    Thanks Pastor Kerry

  2. Kerri Says:

    Kerry – Thank you for continuing to write your Daily Devotions.

  3. Sharon Longnecker Says:

    Thank you so much for returning to writing these devotions. You challenge us and inspire us to God’s will more devotedly.
    I sent out quite a few from the archives during this time, but also used a few Lenten devotions from Reformation Lutheran Church in KS. You might like checking into their web site. Yesterday’s devotion from them was so in tune with the things that you are teaching us.
    Gratefully,
    Sharon

  4. Mildred Bliefernich Says:

    I also am so happy you are back! I am just wondering what your opinon is of the ELCA’s stand on letting homosexual pastors (in a relationship) be ordained. It certainly has caused churches in some areas to leave the ELCA. Thank you! Mildred B.

  5. Tina Peterson Says:

    Dear Pastor Kerry:

    Thank you for helping me along in my faith journey. This particular story means so much to me, and I’m glad to hear your take on it, too.
    God bless you and your ministry.

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