Sunday, August 25, 2013

There are Healings And Then There Are healings

In today's Gospel reading we are treated with what might be called a medical miracle of Jesus or the casting out of a spirit of infirmity,

And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. Luke 13:10-17 KJV

In reviewing the Gospel witness of Jesus' healings, I am often thankful for Luke and the physician's point of view that he lends. Of the unique healings mentioned only in Luke we have,
  • Dead Son of the Widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-16)
  • Woman With a Spirit  of Infirmity  (Luke 13:11-13)
  • Man with Dropsy (Edema/Congestive heart failure?) (Luke 14:1-4)
  • Ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19)
  • Samaritan Leper  (Luke 17:15-19)
  • One Blind Man Approaching Jericho (Luke 18:35-43)
Today's record and the healing of the man with dropsy seem aimed at dispelling the idea that Jesus was just a healer of broken souls, but as God incarnate He was quite capable of  correcting otherwise incurable medical conditions.

In today's sermon, out priest recounted the story of someone who through the help of our church and the Twelve Step program was healed of addiction. That was all fine and good, but when the part about this person leaving their spouse was suggested to be part of the healing that the Church helped lead this person to, the congregation was left wondering what was going on.

I hope we aren't going to resurrect the "Liturgy for Divorce" that a couple of Episcopal druids tried to develop a few years ago.

Perhaps a better way of putting it would have been to say that the Church helped this person in their recovery from a broken relationship.



  1. "spirit of infirmity" I wonder what exegesis KJS would apply to this after her unpacking of the story of St. Paul and the woman with a "spirit of divination."

    1. Hmm... If she were to be consistent, she might say that the Lord did not perceive the presence of the bent over woman's spiritual gift.