Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, 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
Sometimes illness and pain can so overwhelmed us that we are under their grip and don't feel like we are in charge. Having dealt with the ravages of a congenital defect of the back, there are times when my back is the driver and I am not. When I have been suffering and am then relieved, it is as if a veil was lifted, a yoke removed and an unwanted guest sent packing. There is a childlike response to the relief, a desire to run and jump and do cartwheels, even though I was never that coordinated. To be free from fearsome pain allows us to be the children of God fully and completely.
Again, the rules took precedence over healing. Jesus healed a woman who had been suffering for a lifetime and was in trouble for doing so on the sabbath. God gives us good rules to live by but they are never those which restrict the flow of love, freedom and healing. Unfortunately humanity loves to impose laws on others who are different or who suffer neglect. We are invited by God today to hear again that perfect love is perfect freedom, the release from bonds and the ability to be a joyous child of God. We are encouraged to do all we can to bring God's love and healing to a needy world, despite our human anxieties and restrictions.
Today I ask God to help me live for the healing and freedom of others. May I love completely and be moved to action for those who cannot act on their own behalf. May we be given strength and deep trust in one another, so that pain and disease cannot bind us, and we can be agents of God's love in this world. May God use each of our hearts and hands for the freedom and healing of our world.