Women of the Word: Sandy Ovalle Martínez
Sandy Ovalle Martínez is a native of Mexico City and serves as the director of campaigns and mobilizing for Sojourners, leading the SojoAction team. She holds a M.A. in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and has worked in immigration advocacy, church mobilization, and Latinx campus ministry in California and Texas.
This sermon was edited from a message delivered Aug. 25, 2019 at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis.
I can imagine the woman, found in Luke 13: 10 -17, as she left the synagogue that day. Just that morning, she had struggled to get herself to the synagogue. She had followed the steps of those in front of her, relying on them as a guide to show her where to walk and where not to step. ...Because for 18 years, she had been bent over and quite unable to stand up straight.
She had been bound to missing out on life and community. And she had grown accustomed to this. But on that day, she heard the voice that would change it all.
“Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” Jesus had seen her. Then, using his physical presence and proximity, Jesus restored her, holistically, so she could be a part of the community.
And as she strutted her newfound freedom — praising God — moving around, walking, and looking straight ahead, someone else also centered her.
The leader of the synagogue points out this miraculous happening is out of order. If she had been this way for 18 years, what was one more day? She could wait to do it lawfully. But Jesus centered the woman who was oppressed to bring liberation.
When Jesus came, he did not only come for the woman, but he came for the whole community. Yes, this woman had been bound for 18 years to an oppressive condition that bent her over, but this community was also bound and bent over — bound to conceit and self-interest. They were bound to applying rules in dehumanizing ways.
The woman was raised for her liberation and the health of her community. She was healed that they could all heal. Today, God calls us into healing like Jesus called the woman and her community to healing.
May we say we’ll rise, we’ll rise, we’ll rise. Amen.