Woman Healed of a Crippling Disease, Luke 13: 10-17

We are so touchy about our traditions, aren’t we? Women – Remember when it was scandalous to wear white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day? And heaven forbid we even thought of wearing pants to church. We would have been ostracized. I guess the men had their own traditions – coat and tie, even if it was 95 degrees. My grandmother’s generation had to wear hats and gloves to church, or you didn’t go. Reading this devotion might make us realize that we should not have been appalled when someone broke with our precious traditions, we should have been thrilled that they even showed up.

Think of the times that someone walked into church in a manner we would consider ‘poorly dressed’. They were not greeted or welcomed, they were looked down upon. Surely, they should know better and we were happy to point out their shortcomings – or at least whisper them loudly behind their backs. We failed to see that God had sent us a new disciple – someone needing our love and care but we refused delivery, hoping that next time God would send a more appropriate model. Oh, what arrogance we have.

The woman in the passage today had her heart’s desire fulfilled, she was out of pain and able to stand with dignity for the first time in almost two decades. Is anyone in leadership running to celebrate with her; to praise God and give thanks for this amazing miracle? N-o-o-o-o! They are berating the man that healed her because it went against their traditions. Surely, he could have waited one more day to perform that healing. One more day? We would rather have someone suffer with chronic pain than adjust our traditions. Are we kidding? If we have ever been with or suffered from severe pain ourselves (physical or emotional), we would not tolerate one more minute of pain if could be helped. Here they ask for the women to wait another 1,440 minutes – that isn’t too much to ask for the sake of our tradition, is it? When did we get so callous?

As we journey to the cross together, let’s examine our behaviors, expectations and beliefs to see where we have allowed love to tradition to take precedence over love of God and neighbor. Our traditions should show our love for God and neighbor, not take away from them.