A few years ago, my husband and I travelled through Europe for 5 weeks with only carry-on luggage and one daypack. We thought we were travelling light and ready for exploration, but this daypack did not fit very well and as we carried it each day, it became a problem. By the end of three weeks, we realized that one or two days of discomfort was manageable, but 3 weeks was tiring. By the fourth week, we were walking with sore shoulders and a sore back. This daypack became such a burden our bodies were compensating for it. We no longer stood straight and our spine was crooked; we started to be bent over with its weight and ill-fit.
Jesus once encountered a woman who had been bent over – for 18 long years! Can you imagine? We don’t know exactly why she was bent over but whatever was happening, it had become a huge burden to her, affecting her spirit, emotions, and body. She had become – tired, embarrassed, afraid? – because of her bentness, and this tended to keep her on the edges of society.
Jesus noticed both her bentness and her isolation, so he called her forward. “Come stand right beside me”, he said. Then he freed her from her burden and healed her. Notice the particular order in which Jesus did his work. First, he called her to him. He accepted her as she was and made a place for her to stand right beside himself. This was extraordinary. Then he lifted her burden and healed her body. Two healings – a healing of her personhood and then a physical healing.
The journey of life is one of continually allowing Jesus to bear those ill-fitting burdens that keep us bent over at the back of the room, whether they are physical, emotional, of the spirit. Throughout the gospel stories as well as today, Jesus shows his desire and ability to bear our deepest burdens and to bring healing.
Take a moment to imagine yourself in the shoes of this woman. How would you feel being bent over for 18 years? What would be your first impulse if Jesus called you forward in a group? What emotions would you have if Jesus took your heavy burden and healed you? What difference would being freed from that burden make for how you live into this coming
week? Jesus is continually ready to free us from those things that bend and bind us. Go stand beside Jesus – he is waiting to befriend you, bear your burden, ready to heal.
~ Pastor Mary
Prayer Corner – Jesus, I am drawing near to you because you welcome me, you take my burden and you heal me. thank you.
1 Peter 5:7 – Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Luke 13:10-13 – On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God for the things he was doing.
幾年前， 丈夫和我，帶著一件手提行李和一個背 囊，去歐洲旅行了五個星期。我們想旅行時輕便一點，方便尋探更多不同的景點，但當我們每天背著 這個背囊，便發現它不太適用，更成為了我們的問 題。三個星期後，我們明白了一兩天的不舒適還可 應付，但三個星期讓我們感到十分疲倦。到了第四 個星期，我們步行時已開始感到腰酸背痛。這個背 囊讓我們的身體要調適來遷就它。我們的腰不能挺 直，我們的背被壓彎，我們開始要彎腰駝背地承受 它的重量。
耶穌亦曾經遇過一個女人––她的腰已經彎曲了十八年！ 你可以想像嗎？我們不知道發生了甚麼事讓她的腰彎著不 能直起來，但這必然是她的重擔，影響著她的靈性、情緒和身體。她感到疲倦、尷尬、害怕？腰這樣彎著，她被推到 社會的邊緣。
耶穌留意到她彎著的腰，以及她被孤立隔離，所以他吩咐她站前來。他說：「 來站在我的身邊。」 他卸除了她的 重擔，並醫治了她。留心一下耶穌作事的次序。首先，他吩咐她到他跟前。他接受了她的本相，並讓她站到他自己身 邊。這是何等令人驚訝。隨後他拿開了她的重擔，醫治了她的身體。兩種的醫治––一種個人心靈的醫治，然後是肉體 上的醫治。
生命的旅程中，耶穌不斷續地替我們背負那些長期讓我們感到不適，並使我們彎腰不能站直的重擔，無論是身體 上、情緒上，甚至靈性上。由所有福音故事，直至現在，耶穌願意和有能力替我們背負這些沉重的負擔，並帶來醫 治。
花一點時間去想像一下你若處於這女人的境況。腰彎了十八年會有甚麼感受？當耶穌叫你在人群中站前來，你即 時會有甚麼反應？若耶穌挪開你的重擔，並醫治了你，你會有甚麼感覺？當重擔被挪開，你在未來一個星期會有何不 同？耶穌繼續從壓逼綑鎖中釋放我們。去站在耶穌身旁邊––他在等著你，準備為你醫治。
~ Pastor Mary
祈禱: 耶穌父神，因你的召喚我向你靠近，你帶走 我的負擔和賜力量給我。阿們。
你們要將一切的憂慮卸給神，因為他顧念你們 (彼得前書 5:7)
安息日，耶穌在會堂裏教訓人。有一個女人被鬼附 著，病了十八年；腰彎得一點直不起來。耶穌看見，便 叫過她來，對她說。『女人！你脫離這病了。』 於是用 兩隻手按著她；她立刻直起腰來，就歸榮耀與神。」路加福音十三章十至十三節