Yesterday, my head could have just gone ahead and fallen off by the end of the day. I went to bed having taken the max of medicine and positioned a heating pad strategically under the most painful points. I just knew that I would be groggy and tired when I work up, but I felt much better.
We decided to go to church a little early as this was move-in day for Salem College. I forgot my rings and watch. Funny how the little things like that can just mess you up. We get to Main street and don’t move. They are having a race and only letting a car through once every few lights. I am all for pausing for the racers, but more cars could have gone through than the gentleman was letting (and some of the folks were barely moving 😉 ). Ron was starting to get just a tad irritated and by the time we got up near church, we had a hard time finding a place to park. Ron actually had to get back in the car and move it when we realized the place he’d chosen wasn’t really a place. I watched other people sail around the square looking. Oh, and I also had something on my skirt which I didn’t see until we got in the car.
Take a deep breath. Take many deep breaths.
But we get into church. There are fewer folks than usual. They are probably still looking for parking. And I listen to the prelude – and pray. It was a beautiful and very long piece. Much longer than those played most Sundays. Saraband and Interlude by Sumsion. Then we sing, Praise, My soul, the King of Heaven. The liturgy is on Grace. Perfect for this morning that seemed to be going in way too many directions. At some point, the organ starts by itself and keeps going. It took me a minute to realize what was happening. It’s a low and continuous noise that just goes on and on. One of the pastors is reading scripture. I’m wondering how this deep humming sounds on the radio program. We read Psalm 103 in unison and still it hummmms. I’m trying hard not to chuckle, but it was a chuckling moment.
We also have a tiny boy sitting behind us. Cute as a button, he is trying so hard to be quiet. He keeps whispering to his mother.
Then the sermon. Luke 13:10-17.
[A Woman with a Disabling Spirit]Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.(Luke 13:10-17 ESV)
The bent woman. She is labeled. She is called something and recognized as something she most likely would not have chosen for herself. How many people do I look at and label? Untold numbers even though I try not to. This woman may not even have been noticed hardly at all by anyone. Dismissed by those surrounding her. But she is seen by Jesus who not only heals her so she can stand tall, but calls her a daughter of Abraham – not the bent woman. Does she stand taller still?
I know that’s not the singular focus of the passage, but on a Sunday – this Sunday, when you wonder why you made the effort to get to church when everything seems to be working against you getting there and even listening once you are there, it’s good to remember that Jesus is really the reason for everything. He knows not only our name, but who we are intimately, in our deepest parts, in our hidden parts, He knows us. Jesus recognizes us for who we are (that would be His) and doesn’t see us as others might. Praise God.