Now Jesus 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
Yesterday our daughter Phoebe stood up with the love of her life and promised to be faithful to him forever. It was a wonderful, joyous occasion and a great gathering of friends and family. 71 years ago today, my parents stood up together and promised the same things - to love and cherish each other forever. My Dad has been gone from us since 1994 but the love that they promised still remains and has been transferred on down through the generations. My Mom sat there beaming with joy, filled with memories and tenderness. We stand up and make promises, but it is the constancy and faithfulness that moves mountains, changes hearts and restores the brokenhearted.
Jesus heals a woman on the sabbath and is chastised for the act. He stands up for her and for the love of God which knows no human limits and which sees beyond our structures, laws and rules. Love breaks the rules so the life can be restores, love can be found and lives renewed. We are invited to stand up against fashion and tradition when healing and love are concerned. Love knows no bounds when we are willing to stand up and live the promises we make.
Today, I thank God for the love that grows between those who are faithful to God and to one another. May we all rejoice in those people who have taught us how to love and how to stand up to fashion and rules and let love flourish. May God bless all those who commit themselves to others and may their lives be blessed as they grow in love.
Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.