It’s Always Time for a Miracle

On August 25, 2019, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

It’s Always Time for a Miracle Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Luke 13.10-17 Let us dwell together in peace, let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. Dt. 5 tells us that rest and prayer are important for our […]

It’s Always Time for a Miracle
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Luke 13.10-17

Let us dwell together in peace, let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

Dt. 5 tells us that rest and prayer are important for our mental, spiritual, and even physical well-moving.

Dt. 22 tells us that when we see a need, we ought to do what we can about it.

One truth doesn’t negate the other.
Sabbath rest, a day of worship, prayer, relaxation, focusing on spirit rather than just on making money or completing tasks is important, but its important because it contributes to the wellbeing of human lives. It should never be the reason we ignore people in pain.

Dt. 5 says take care of yourself.
Dt. 22 says help others.
It’s both/and spirituality rather than either/or religion.

In the gospel lesson today, we see Jesus helping a woman on the Sabbath. She was hurting. She was weighed down with pain, burdened by grief, bent over with despair. For 18 years she had been looking down, feeling down, and Jesus lifted her up.

The religious gatekeepers used religion to control and restrict.
But the spirituality of Jesus says there’s not a spot where God is not.
The spirituality of Jesus says there’s not a place beyond God’s grace.
The spirituality of Jesus says there’s not a time that not’s sublime.
NOW is the point of power.

Religion often says you can’t; but spirituality says that all things are possible.
Religion has said that you are broken; but healthy spirituality says you are God’s miracle and not God’s mistake!

Religion said Jesus shouldn’t care for this woman on the Sabbath. Healing is work, and you can’t work on a day of rest. But Jesus knows that rest is for our health, and so helping this woman reclaim her life is the actual purpose of the Sabbath.

Religionists wanted to use religion to tell Jesus what he could not do; but Jesus thought spirituality was meant to heal, empower, uplift.

Religion is too often weaponized to keep people from experiencing hope or joy, but love of God should lead to love of neighbor, and love of neighbor is how best to show love for God.

Jesus saw a neighbor in need of love, and he loved her. That’s worship.
Fear of religious condemnation could have silenced him, but he chose love. He chose love over fear, and that’s a miracle.
When and where love is needed is when and where it ought to be shared. It’s always time for a miracle.

“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.”

This story resonates with me very strongly. My mother had difficulty conceiving and carrying children to term. Her doctor gave her medication to help her carry a child to term. The medicine was known to cause certain problems. I was born with spinal birth defects, possibly the result of that medication.

Prayer, pain killers, muscle relaxers, massage, chiropractic, a walking cane, even injections are all well known to me. In the last few years I have developed recurring bouts of super painful sciatica. I always recover, and in between flareups I live an active, happy life.
Every time I can’t stand up straight, or need a cane to walk, or need 15 minutes to exit my bed…I think of this story.

My grandmother had osteoporosis. My mother earlier this year fractured a couple of vertebrae. Back pain…my own and others, has been part of my life all my life. But I don’t think this story is about medical issues. For medical issues, see medical professionals. Of course, pray also. I aways say, Say a prayer and take a pill, if one doesn’t work the other will.

But the gospel story doesn’t say this woman was born with back troubles, and it doesn’t say she sustained an injury. The story says, “She had a spirit” that kept her from holding her head up high.

How did Jesus help her with the spirit, the attitude, the outlook, the feelings that caused her to be bowed low? He did three things:

He saw her.
He called to her.
He extended a healing touch.

In other words,
He noticed her.
He spoke to her.
And he reached out to her.
And when he did these things, she was uplifted. She stood tall. She held her head up. She was renewed.

There are people today who are hurting.
They are having trouble holding their heads up.
They are ashamed.
They are afraid.
They are lonely.
They are exhausted.
They are bereaved.
They need a miracle. They need to have their fears healed by love.
What can we do?

We can notice them.
We can speak to them.
We can reach out to them.

If they are hungry,
If they are housing insecure,
If they struggle with depression,
If they lack access to medical care,
If they are lonely,
If they have been abandoned by faith, family, or friends, If they are targeted because of their heritage, If they are having their civil rights threatened, If they are demonized or dehumanized, If they are bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, If their very bodies are used as political and ideological battle grounds, If their existence is used to fuel political hatred or religious rejection…

They need a miracle, and we can offer that miracle by simply standing on the side of love.

We can see them.
We can speak words of hope and care to them.
We can reach out to them.

There is a world of people bowed down with suffering, and religion is often used to perpetuate their suffering. Thank God for “a different kind of church.”

Like Jesus, let us counter religious abuse with spiritual liberation, and let us offer the love that will help lift people’s spirits and allow them to hold their heads up high.

This is the gospel message, which is to say, this is the good news. Amen.

God heal our fears.
God heal our deepest wounds.
May we be uplifted.
And may we uplift others.
Alleluia!
Amen.

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