August 22, 2022
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “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 13:10-17 CEB
August 22 fell on Sunday in 2010. The phone rang while we were still in bed. My sister Carol was calling to tell us that our mom had just died. We were living in Honolulu, HI at the time, mom was in Columbiana, OH, and the first flight I could catch was a red eye that left around 8 pm that evening.
The sermon I had ready for that morning was based on the text above. The title of the sermon was The Bent Over Woman. Rod made flight arrangements so that I could get to Columbiana Monday morning. I called our sons to let them know that Grandma Josie (their name for her) had passed away. Then I made the decision to do what I always did on Sunday mornings. I got ready to go to church. I had no idea when I wrote the sermon that I be preaching on behalf of my mom who was no longer bound by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I was grieving. I could imagine her standing up straight, and praising God.
Mom was a church organist for years. When she stopped playing the organ, she had the chance to sing all the hymns she loved so well. She had a habit of closing her hymnal when the final verse of the hymn began and belt out the words with heart-felt conviction. I don’t recall what the final hymn was at Manoa Valley Church that day. What I do recall was being able to close my hymnal for the last verse and sing/cry my way through the last verse, praising God for freeing her from disease and making her whole.
It just so happens that yesterday’s lectionary text was the same one as August 22, 2010. Our closing hymn was Lord of the Dance. My mom loved to dance, and I believe she was singing and dancing along with us.
With gratitude that she is no longer bound by illness and disease. She’s in good company. ~ Anne