There is a cartoon show my boys like to watch called "Phineas and Ferb". If you have not seen it, its about two, very imaginative, very industrious boys who look to fill each day with adventure and their teenage sister who is always looking to "bust" her brothers. My favourite tag line in the show is this, "Ferb, I know what we are going to do today! Hey where's Perry?
This Sunday is an interesting situation (Luke 13:10-17). Its about being all tied up. It is about being freed, loosed from those bonds. It’s about being free and able to praise and worship God uprightly. It is about being blessed that we might give to others, and others see who God is and how God works to seek out those who are bound and bent over because they are oppressed by evil. God comes to seek and to save that which is lost: his people, his sheep.
It is a repetition from what Jesus proclaimed from the prophet Isaiah at the beginning of his ministry, “The Spirit of the Lord, is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s jubilee.” (Luke 5:1-19) Jesus clearly says that “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” But then he does not leave things there. Over time Jesus lives his life to make the fulfillment of the scriptures an earthly reality.
That’s why in the middle of things, in the middle of worship and teaching, Jesus stopped everything. He looked at this woman, a daughter of Abraham, had been bound by an evil spirit for 18 years. The captivity had taken her way from being able to praise and to worship God. It had taken away to receive blessing and to pray properly. Jesus looked at her, was moved to proclaim her freedom from the disabling spirit and then lay hands on her to bless her for the next steps in the journey. This allowed the woman to stand up straight and being to live and to worship as she ought too.
But the story doesn’t end there because the president of the synagogue objects to the work of healing being done on the Sabbath. The confrontation between the president and Jesus leads to the religious people, the rabbis, the president, the lawyers and Levites to feeling humiliated. Jesus went as far as calling them “play actors”, essentially calling them empty and useless vessels while the ordinary folks were praising God and thankful for the release they were feeling from the oppression of the demands of the everyday Law and religion.
We are challenged and called to the same things: to recognize how we and others around us have been bound to things that are not godly, and to evil. We are called to work for release and for freedom for ourselves and for others. Most of all we called to work with Christ to seek and to save that which is lost: his people so that we can together enter into all the freedom and abundance of the life of the kingdom of God through service, first to Christ, then to one another. In this way we will have grace to turn to the Lord and stand in faith and wonder; stand to be shown mercy that we might have forgiveness; lift our eyes and hand to heaven because we know peace and God’s peace causes us to participate in that full life and be blessed in order that we might give and bless others to help the world to praise God with everything we are.
So what are we going to do today?