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DFLC Sermon - August 21, 2022 - Rev. Marie Meeks

Grace and peace to you, from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today, we have a seemingly familiar story from Luke’s Gospel. There are many stories like this one, in all four of the Gospels. Jesus goes to the synagogue, heals someone, and gets in a battle of words with the synagogue leader or leaders. So, what is different about this particular story? It seems to be just like the other stories. Jesus breaks the rules, and despite the protests of the leaders, the people rejoice. But when we look at the reading, the words Jesus uses are not about sickness and healing. The words are better translated as “bound” and “set free.” Looking at this story from that point of view, it is not just the same healing story. Jesus lays hands on this woman and sets her free from bondage.

So, what does it mean to be set free? And what does it mean to be bound, as this woman was? What is keeping you bound or burdened? For some it is mental illness, addiction, or physical illness. But it can also be more subtle than that. Are you in bondage to perfectionism? Maybe it is your own expectations of yourself. Do you feel you can never be good enough at work, as a parent, a caregiver, a spouse? Are you holding yourself to an unreasonable standard? What prevents you from feeling that you are good enough, smart enough, popular enough?

I know many of us are just exhausted after two years of the pandemic, and don’t seem able to rebound, from all that stress—and all the other events taking place right now. What we need to hear and understand from the story of this woman bound for 18 years, is that Jesus does not want us to stay bound or burdened. Jesus sees us, just as he saw the woman in this reading, and even though we may not think we are worthy of healing, Jesus comes to us—just as he came to that woman, and tells us we are set free.

We are children of God, and worthy of Jesus’s care for us. So, we need to open our minds to the possibility that Jesus wants us to be free. And with that freedom, we are called to share our experience, of Jesus’s presence, with others. We are called not to keep silent—when so many are still suffering needlessly, bound by a spirit of fear, of hopelessness, even the fear that comes from anger.

But how are we to do these things? We are not Jesus. We are just flawed, sometimes broken, children. But children of God. Our God calls us to be set free to serve others and share the Good News that God wants freedom for all God’s children. Amen.


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