Author: Dr. Yvonne Huggins-Mclean
Luke:13:10-13 Now HE was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when JESUS saw her, HE called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And HE laid HIS hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised GOD. [Revised Standard translation]
DISCUSSIONJESUS was a teacher. HE spoke in parables in order to try to open his listeners’ minds and hearts to the word of GOD. HE taught “by example” in the way HE loved others, in the way HE “saw” people who suffered. HE extended HIMSELF to the poor and to people in need--the lost, the ignored, the poor and many in bondage by sickness and sin.
HE taught lessons of service, sacrifice, compassion to community and in a world that favored, “separation,” “racial bias,” “religious bias,” “elitism” “self-interest,” and “bondage.”
The synagogue was a Jewish place of worship. It was the place where the religious leaders often gathered. However, the prominent sects of Judaism during the time of CHRIST---the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and Essenes [some might even include the Zealots], however believed themselves “separate” from each other and from the “common” people.
The name “Pharisee” by definition meant “separated one” for they saw themselves as Hebrews who “separated themselves” from every kind of impurity, according the Mosaic law of purity. The Pharisee were so caught up in the “letter of the law”-- ritualistic hand washing, avoiding “sin” and “sinners”-- that they often missed “the SPIRIT of GOD’s law,” which JESUS demonstrated.
According to Smith’s Bible Dictionary 1 , there were seven kinds of Pharisees, including for example, “Bleeders: who to avoid looking at women shut their eyes and so bump their heads;” “Mortars: wearing caps in the form of a mortar, covering their eyes from seeing impurities;” and “Fearers: who keep the law for fear of a judgment.”
The Pharisees probably walked by this woman every day, as if she were part of the dirt on the road. They did not “see” the woman.” Some Pharisees, like the “Bleeder”, would have looked away, shut their eyes, looked right through her (as if she didn’t exist), or intentionally crossed over to the other side. The idea that someone would interact in public with this woman, extend a hand to this woman must have been an “incomprehensible lesson” for the Pharisees. The sick, all women---but especially women like her--- were to be avoided. Any Pharisee would vehemently proclaim to love GOD and the Mosaic law---but would not want to associate with this woman.
When JESUS had compassion for this bent-over woman. HE taught a lesson on love. HE demonstrated that in order to show love for GOD, we must love “one another,” including “the lost,” and “the bent over.” HE wanted each of us to know that no matter “how bent over” and “bent out of shape” we may be, HE can lift our burdens, straighten out our lives, and set us free.
GOOD POSTURE IS IMPORTANTWebMd lists a number of ways bad posture can hurt a person’s health over time:
Poor Posture Hinders Breathing---Slouching in your seat gives your lungs and diaphragm less room, thus making it harder for a person to breathe.
Poor Posture Affects the Abdomen---Organs in your body, like your intestine may get cramped, thus affecting how well they function.
Poor Posture Can Cause Jaw Pain---If you let your head jut forward, a joint in your jaw will become painfully overworked.
Poor Posture Can Aggravate Knee Pain--- If you stoop forward at the waist when you walk, your knees will end up feeling sore.
Poor Posture Has Been Linked to Worsened Mood---Some researchers have linked poor posture to slumps in mood.
So, sit up straight or if you have a medical condition, speak with your personal physician about your posture. See, “Ways Poor Posture Can Hurt Health,” https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/video/posture-pain. EXERCISES TO IMPROVE POSTURE FORWARD FOLD – to release tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes:
Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart. [Alternatively, sit up straight in a straight-back chair. Roll your shoulders back, chest forward and anchor your feet if you are seated]
Bring your hands to your hips and then fold forward at the hips.
Release your hands and place them on the floor or a block. Don’t be concerned if your hands do not reach the floor. Go as far as you comfortably can.
Bend your knees slightly (if you are standing), soften your hip joints and breathe in and out allowing your spine to lengthen. Keep your feet anchored if you are sitting.
Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to hang for a few seconds.
Slowly rise up one vertebra at a time until you are in the start position. STANDING CAT-COW -- helps to release tension in your back, hips and glutes.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, with a slight bend in your knees.
Extend your hands in front and place them on your thighs.
Lengthen your neck, bring your chin toward your chest and round your spine into a cat pose.
Then look up, lift your chest in move your spine in the opposite direction into a cow pose.
Breathe in and out holding each position for a few breaths. Repeat movement based on your level of comfort.
[Cat-Cow can also be done on a mat on your knees] See visuals cite below. CHEST OPENER – helps you open and stretch your chest, strengthen your chest and stand up straighter.
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. [Again this exercise can be performed in a straight back chair, sitting up straight and both feet anchored to the ground]
Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers so your palms press together. Grasp a towel if your hands cannot reach each other.
Keep your head, neck, and spine in one line as you gaze straight ahead.
Inhale as you lift your chest toward the ceiling and bring your hands toward the floor.
Breathe deeply as you hold this pose for a few seconds.
Release and relax for a few breaths and return to the start position. For visuals or more exercises, See, “12 Exercise to Improve Your Posture,” https://www.healthline.com/health/posture-exercises. If you have a medical condition, balance problems or taking medication, consult your personal physician about the right exercise for you. If you get dizzy, discontinue immediately and again consult your physician. You may need or find it helpful to seek the guidance of a physical therapist or trainer.
LEARNING THE LESSONS OF JESUSThere are times when life can bend us over or out of shape. Sometimes we are bent over about jobs, exams, children, illness, financial problems, loneliness or uncertainty. We can all derive comfort knowing that JESUS “sees” us. HE knows all about us and HE cares. And, more importantly, HE can set us free. Also, we must be mindful of persons who are “bent over” in our communities. It is easy to ignore people on the street, sex trafficking, high school dropout rates, or persons languishing in prison or detention facilities, or individuals who suffer from mental illness. We must continuously reject the rhetoric of “separateness,” “wall building” “seclusion” “bigotry” and “superiority.” We cannot afford to simply “wash our hands” of “other people’s” problems. If we love GOD, we are mandated to also love one another. See, 1 John 4: 20-21. Our job is to achieve a better posture—the posture of “servant”--- helping those who are bent over from life’s challenges. Model CHRIST and BE BLESSED! ____________________________ 1 Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition, Compiled from Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, A. J. Holman Company.