(Click verse above to see the entire reading)
Now He 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 year. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. —Luke 13:10-11
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In this gospel reading we meet a woman known only as the one who is stooped over, bearing upon her shoulders the burden of being different. She bears the burden of not looking like everyone else, the burden of not being able to do what everyone else does. People do not call her by name.
She is just the crooked woman, the bent woman.
You may also feel stooped over by some weight or worry. Maybe even something that has begun trying to define who you are in this world. You are the person with cancer, the unemployed, the addicted, ashamed or depressed.
Jesus says to the afflicted woman, you are a daughter of Abraham.You are not just the stooped over woman, you are an heir to the promises and blessings of God.
Jesus means to name you too. He will not let you settle for the names the world wants to lay upon you or even the ones you may have settled on for yourself. The Good News proclaims that, more than any other identity you may have, you are a forgiven, claimed, called, cherished child of God.
Questions to Ponder or Discuss
1. How often do you think about yourself as a child of God?
2. How can your true identity as a child of God help you to be a blessing to others?
3. Do you think more people understand the church to be a place of rules and judgment or a place of grace and blessing?
It is said that Martin Luther began each day by making the sign of the cross and reminding himself that he is a baptized child of God. So give it a try this week. Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, make the sign of the cross over yourself and start your day with a reminder of your true identity. Then go in peace into your day to serve the Lord by being a blessing to others.
See you in church!