“Bent and Broken” Luke 13-10-17

FHF 4 jesus heals and liberates 9 where Jesus is present there is liberty, wholeness and life
When you sit opposite from Emma, you don’t notice that there is anything wrong. She is a spry and sparkling example of 86 years old at its best, when seated. She sits up, looks you in the eye, and makes casual conversation with a rapier wit on almost any topic. She picks up her teacup and scones like there is no difference between the two of you. Nothing is out of place…, that is, until she stands up.

It is then that the 86 years seem to drop on her body like a heavy weight, born about the shoulders, crushing weight bearing down upon her small, and now frail looking body. Deterioration of the spine, the result of years of degenerative disease, has taken its toll and it leaves Emma bent and broken. As she stands, the sparkle is gone out of her eyes and the breath is drawn, less with casual ease, and more with intense labor. You wish it were possible to attach a string to her head, like a marionette puppet, and pull her up straight. But her body is taught, not limp, gripped with pain, bent in agony.

Yet, without complaint she labors to the door, opens it and lets you out. You know, more often than not, that she will now take some medication that will ease her pain, but dull her eyes to a different state of glaze, not with pain, but into that gentle oblivion that will soon have her resting and sleeping for the duration of the dose. Doctors can treat Lorena, but they cannot cure what bends her to the point of breaking.

I thought of Emma as I read this text for today, wondering if her future is my future. I think of her and pray for her, body and soul. I also, truth be known, say a little prayer of sorts for myself, thankful that I am not bent and broken like that. But in the moment that I say this prayer, I know that it betrays a lie. Closer to the truth is that I am thankful that my bent and broken nature is not visible to any but the most trained of eyes, perhaps visible only to the eyes of God.

I came across this language in, of all places, the science fiction writings of C. S. Lewis. The author of such diverse works as Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Chronicles of Narnia also wrote a trilogy of science fiction works, though little known. In them he tries to describe what Sin is, to beings who do not know. The word his hero finally settles on is “bent.” By bent, I take Lewis to mean, misshapen, not the way we were made to be, and not fit for our intended purpose. We are all of us, bent: some, like the woman in our Gospel for today and Emma, literally bent over, the rest of us, simply out of shape, not as God intended

We are all bent and broken! We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

So we are bound in this life by sin! Sin we often have difficulty naming.

But the good news is that yes we are all bound but we are all freed! Jesus says: “Untie Them”! We are forgiven and renewed!

Wow! The Good News Of The Gospel!