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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Bent Over Woman

“And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.” Lk 13:11

Every time I read this passage, I think of my mother. In the last years of her life mom had dozens of spinal fractures, all of which caused her pain and difficulty in standing erect. A back brace helped, but often she would have to sit or lie down to get any relief. At the same time, her spinal osteoporosis did not slow her down. Mom was too interested in life to let something as simple as back pain stop her.

The woman in today’s passage from the gospel of Luke seems much like mom. Despite being bent over, she is in the synagogue listening, learning, and hoping. No doubt some judged her and thought she was possessed by an evil spirit, but she was not deterred. Like so many others who had heard about Jesus she wanted to be near him, and perhaps even be healed. Imagine her joy when the Lord said to her, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” Lk 13:12 I can imagine her walking out of the synagogue after 18 years standing very tall, looking all in the eye and asking everyone she saw what they thought of her now.

The lesson for us is clear. Stand erect. Look around you at the glory of God. Reach out for those who are broken. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Do whatever it takes to save lives for the sake of the Gospel.

Today, ask to see clearly whatever or whomever is in front of you. And pray not to look away from the needy, but to help those bent over by poverty, sin or despair.

How do you think Christians ought to respond to people with disabilities?

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