Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

True Worship that Liberates

Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla
Director, Mar Thoma Counseling Center, Thiruvilla
15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”

These days in India a fierce debate is raging on the airing of the documentary produced by Leslee Udwin for BBC titled “India’s Daughter”. The echoes of the debate can also be heard in the United States too.  This documentary tries to analyze the psyche of the predators of sexual abuse especially in relation to the horrific Nirbhaya case in New Delhi two years back. What caused controversy and anger among the people was the way the predator not only graphically described the crime he committed but also had to the guts to say that when women are sexually abused they are not supposed to fight back, and if they don’t fight back their life will be spared and if they fight back they will be killed.  He also goes on to say that women are supposed to stay at home and only then will violence against woman not take place.

Along with this came another news item that caught my attention , a law was passed by the government banning the sale and eating of beef in the City of Mumbai.  As somebody quoted “Something is really wrong with a nation when the value of a cow is more than the value accorded to a woman”.

When we read the Bible Portion for our meditation Luke 13:10-17,  I think the mindset of the religious leaders at the time of Jesus was somewhat prevalent to the quote mentioned above.  Jesus is teaching in one of the synagogues and he sees a woman who has been crippled for the last eighteen years.  She struggles a lot since she is bent. It is this physical deformity that makes the life of the woman an extreme struggle. She seems to have lost her worth, as she cannot hold her head high, she cannot fathom the beauty of God’s creation as her sight is only downwards.

It is these struggles of the woman that Jesus beholds. For the rest of the worshipers, it is just another worship time where their focus seems to be completely in the worship of the Lord. They have no time to think about others forget and about their suffering. They have come so that they are spiritually recharged and want to go out with God’s blessing.

There is nothing wrong in having this attitude in worship but deep inside when you can’t see another person’s pain and suffering, worship becomes just another ritual that has no intrinsic meaning. When Jesus heals the woman he is telling the people that through worship and through our encounter with God we should be channels of blessing and grace to the people who are in need and not be a stumbling block just as the synagogue leaders did as read in the  passage. 

What is more shocking for Jesus is the attitude of the people who are ready to feed their cattle even on Sabbath but has a problem when Jesus heals the woman of her suffering. It is this mindset that needs a change and liberation. 

Let us develop a lifestyle where through our faith and worship we do not become self-centered with a holier than thou attitude. Instead let us be liberated from these self centered beliefs to a life style where one focuses on the alleviation of pain and suffering of others.

As we come to worship let us not be blind and deaf to the needs of the people around us but be open and welcoming so that through worship and a worshiping community we are truly liberated. It is to this call that Jesus beckons us.  


Father God, let us not be blind nor deaf to the needs of those around us. Amen

Let us be liberated from self centered beliefs to a life style that focuses on the alleviation of pain and suffering of others.

Popular posts from this blog

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum