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August 21, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; Heb 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17  The Rev. Linda Spiers
14th Sunday after Pentecost –August 21, 2016               Trinity Episcopal Church

            In many of the healing stories of the Gospels, Jesus heals people after they have been brought to him by family or friends. In most cases someone asks Jesus to heal—either the person needing to be healed or someone asks on his/her behalf. In today’s story the woman bent over for 18 years does not ask for healing. When Jesus saw this woman, he called her over and laid hands on her: “Woman, you are set free from your ailment. When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.” (Luke 13:12-13).
            Have you ever seen anyone so bent over as the woman in this story? It must be hard to do most everything—to look into the eyes of another person, to reach in a cabinet for a glass, to cook a meal, to do the simple things of life we take for granted. She would have to turn side to side, swinging her whole body, just to see the sun or the stars. Looking upward would not be possible without difficulty.
            This story is bookended by Jesus’ parable of the fig tree and the parable of the Mustard Seed and the parable of Leaven. Jesus sets this unnamed woman free of her infirmity—a woman who has lived with incredible limitations for 18 years.
            Ponder for a few minutes how limited this woman must have been and the amazement she must have felt to be freed of those limitations. Her response was to immediately stand straight and praise God. The leader of the synagogue gets all caught up in the laws and rules and rebukes Jesus for “working”—for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus calls out the well-meaning and hypocritical religious leaders. In a profound way he turns the tables right side up. He changes the perspective to focus on the healing this poor woman needed.
            Today is healing Sunday for us. Many of you will come forward for the laying on of hands and anointing. Jesus invites us to seek healing in our lives and to remember that healing happens in many ways—not always the ways we want. When healing does happen, as in the healing of this unnamed bent-over woman, she invites us to stand up straight and praise God. She reminds us to trust in this healing God and look for hope—hope in us and hope in the world around us. Carry her in your heart and in your memory. When have there been times that you might have been so limited, so burdened down, and were then freed?
Let us pray with the words of Holocaust survivor Etty Hillesum in her book Etty:  A Diary 1941-43.
“God take me by Your hand, I shall follow You dutifully, and not resist too much. I shall evade none of the tempests life has in store for me, I shall try to face it all as best I can. But now and then grant me a short respite. I shall never again assume, in my innocence, that any peace that comes my way will be eternal. I shall accept all the inevitable tumult and struggle. I delight in warmth and security, but I shall not rebel if I have to suffer cold, should You so decree. I shall follow wherever Your hand leads me and I shall not be afraid.”
Amen.

Etty Hillesum, Etty:  A Diary 1941-43, trans. Arnold J. Pomerans (London:  Jonathan Cape, 1983; New York:  Pantheon Books, 1984).

August 14, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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July 31, 2016 - Neale Hegarty


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July 24, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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July 17, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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July 10, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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July 3, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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June 26, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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June 19, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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June 12, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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May 29, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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May 22, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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May 15, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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May 8, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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May 1, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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April 24, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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April 17, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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April 10, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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April 3, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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March 27, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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March 26, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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March 25, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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March 24, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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March 20, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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March 13, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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March 6, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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February 28, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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February 21, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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February 14, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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January 24, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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January 17, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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January 10, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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January 3, 2016 - The Rev. Linda Spiers


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