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
Although I wish to, I am not able to be with the Episcopal clergy gathering at the Standing Rock encampment tomorrow. I will be there in prayer and spirit with my Dakota brothers and sisters as they seek healing for their land and clean water for the coming generations. When I was there in August, on a quiet Monday, those that I met with were living peacefully, sharing everything and caring for everyone that came to the camp. Over the last days, there has been violence and strife, and I know that the leaders and the tribe desire only healing and peace. I pray that peace and compassion will reign and violence will no more be on our borders and within our homes.
Jesus goes to worship and encounters a woman in great pain. He immediately cures her to the anger of the religious leaders. They want everything in order and according to the rules. Their hardened hearts are unable to see the need for healing, and for compassion at all times. We too, can easily lose our compassion when we get hung up on rules, ownership and business. We can miss the opportunity to encounter the living God.
Today I ask God to help me rejoice in the interruptions and diversions of this day. May we be reminded of God's great love for all humanity and be willing to stand in the breach for those in need of healing and protection. May we stand with the protectors, the healers and the compassionate servants today.