This week’s Gospel lesson tells of a woman who, for 18 long years, suffered from an affliction that left her bent over, unable to stand. Her ailment was visibly manifest in her body, but Luke tells us that hers was also a spiritual condition. Jesus met her when sabbath as he went to teach in a synagogue in her town.
Standing in the midst of a community that for 18 years hardly even noticed her condition, bent low as she was by the pressures and circumstances of her life, Jesus saw immediately an opportunity for grace. Without her even asking, he called her over, pronounced her “clean”, and laid his hands upon her. With a word and touch from Jesus she stood—tall and strong and whole—and began to wholeheartedly praise God.
Like so many other times, some in the crowd who saw it rejoiced. They rejoiced in God’s goodness, her wholeness, and Jesus power and authority. But, as before, there were also some who became indignant (it was the Sabbath and all “work”, even healing, was forbidden).
After 18 years, she was healed on the wrong day! And we are left to decide which half of the crowd we'll follow home after worship...the "religious cops and rule-keepers", or those whose practical faith leads to healing praise.