This week's Gospel passage is the story of the Bent-Over Woman. While Luke certainly frames it as a healing story to talk about how best to mark Sabbath I am sticking with the healing. This woman is being set free from a long-term captivity.
Marcus Borg lists the story of being set free from captivity as one of the meta-stories of Scripture. Certainly being freed is part of my understanding of atonement. So talking about being freed is hardly a small matter.But in the here and now, what do we need to be set free from? What has us bent over with a heavy load or enchained? Is it possible that some of us don't even know we can be freed?
THe sermon title? Stand Up, Stand Up Through Jesus
One of the thoughts this passage always brings up for me is the fact that sometimes we only know in hindsight that we were even bent over/enchained. SOmetimes our sense of "normal" gets so twisted that we have lost sight of what it would be like to be free.
That is what it was like for me. In Junior high I was heavily bullied (admittedly I was a good target). ANd while I wasn't happy--not even close--there was a part of me that accepted how I felt as normal. And for years afterward the chains remained, the chains that set me into a description of myself that was less than helpful.
Only when working with a therapist 15 years after the bullying did I really realize what had happened. We were using a technique called EMDR and as I revisited the events of my teens something happened. I slumped lower and lower in the seat, my voice got quieter and quieter, I started feeling cold. As we talked about it afterward, I realized not only how bent-over I had been but also that I had been freed. But for so many years I thought I couldn't be freed, that I was who I was and that couldn't happen.
Sometimes I wonder if the woman in Luke's story felt the same way.