Released from the box — give thanks and praise God

Published 3:16 pm Thursday, February 11, 2016

Do you remember seeing the release of the doves at the Olympics?

Boxes in the middle of the field are filled with doves, and when they’re released it’s magnificent! Some fly in formation, flitting this way or that, white specks against the colors of the arena — white specks against the blue sky as they fly to freedom.

But there is a dark side. Those doves have been sitting in boxes in the dark, crammed together for who knows how long until they are finally released. Yet the image of release and freedom is powerful and beautiful.

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I wonder if they will do it again this year in Rio?

Release is the theme of Luke 10:25-37. Jesus is at his usual place on the Sabbath, he’s teaching at the synagogue. 

And the usual crowd is there, maybe they’re the regular attendees of that synagogue or they’re there because they are curious about Jesus. Everyone has heard about him by now.

Jesus sees a woman; she’s bent over, unable to stand straight. The Greek implies she was bent together almost like a pretzel.

Try to picture her predicament. If you’re bent over that much it’s difficult to see, hard to look up, hard to see the trees, the sky, even a sunset. Jesus sees her, calls her over, and says, “Woman, you are released, you are set free.”

When he touches her, when he lays his hands on her, immediately she stands up straight and began praising God!  Talk about being released from a box!

What is your box?  Do you sometimes feel like you’re hemmed in — like that dove or that woman bent over, no idea if or when you will ever get out? 

I think we all feel like that sometimes. It may be crushing debt, some sort of addiction, pressure at work or some secret sin. Sometimes the confinement comes from something or somebody around us, and sometimes we’ve done it to ourselves. 

So we get bent out of shape, dark, crushed and suffocated.

Then Jesus looks at us and says come here; I release you.

What a powerful key we have that unlocks all that binds us! Jesus is the one who can and does release us, just like the woman bent over!  And just like that woman, we should respond by praising and worshiping God. 

REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian Churches. His email is