What do you think she noticed first, the woman who for 18 years had been ‘bent over, completely incapable of standing erect’? What did she see…as she straightened her spine and looked into the eyes of the One who had just cured her infirmity?
And what did they see in her: The friends and neighbors gathered there, in synagogue, on the day of her liberation?
Something tells me it was a bit like the look I saw on the faces of many of the inmates we have been ministering to over the past several days inside Menard.
A holy mixture of relief…surprise…joy…and perhaps even determination.
Indeed: What an unexpected blessing to discover – as one of the Kairos participants put it yesterday – ‘God is doing a new thing in me.’
Or as another man said, with just a touch of amazement in his voice, ‘My heart ain’t filled with junk no more! It’s filled with Jesus! (And cookies.)’
Or another, who after 35 years of incarceration, realized that he was no longer chained to the destructive habits of the past, nor weakened by the debilitating mockery of the broken people all around him: ‘I have the strength. I can prove it to others: I can set the bar higher.’
I never tire of seeing these miracles occur on a Kairos Weekend. I am overjoyed to know that the inmates I’ve met…have in some mysterious way been lifted up from the mud and muck of their present circumstances. They remain incarcerated. But their hearts are unbound. They have been set free.
And their cures, I’ve noticed, tend to have a restorative effect on me.
Jesus is generous in dispensing this gift of healing. The invitation is there, just as it was for the crippled woman in the synagogue, to straighten my spine. To feel the strength. To look into the loving eyes of my Lord and Savior.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.