Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at healing. Of course, healing takes many forms, but underlying them all is the experience of being made whole. The Greek word for ‘demonic’ means ‘tearing apart’; and so something which is demonic tears apart bodies, minds and spirits, people and communities. Physical or mental illness, damaging and abusive relationships, racism, sexism, war, shame: these are just a few of the demons which tear people apart.
In the face of all this brokenness, it’s easy to despair. Yet we have faith that Jesus ‘saves’. The Greek word here is sozo, which means to save, heal, bring wholeness. In other words, Jesus throws out the demonic, and brings together and integrates our experiences. He heals fractured persons; he unites people and communities; he makes us whole (see e.g. 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Of course, being made whole does not mean pretending that our hurts never happened, or that our wounds do not exist. It does not mean perfection. Instead, as Frank Ostaseski writes, “It means no part left out.” It means including, accepting and connecting all parts of ourselves in Christ, who unites all things. When Jesus met his disciples after his death and resurrection, he was heavily scarred. So, too, with our healing. We will still have our histories; we will still be scarred; and, to take the metaphor further, those scars will still need regular intake of vitamin C – aka the gospel and prayer – if they are to hold together. Healing is an ongoing process.
So healing in Jesus’ name is profound. It involves bodies, minds and spirits; it involves our dark and damaging histories; it involves our wounds, our sin, our memories and our shame; and it brings them all together into one tender, scarred and beautiful whole.
Of course, many of us are quite comfortable in our suffering, or would prefer to deny that we are suffering at all. And Jesus will not force healing upon you: you have to want it. So I leave you with a question to ponder, a question Jesus once asked a crippled man: “Do you want to be healed?” Do you want to be made whole? And if not, what is holding you back?
Emailed to Sanctuary on 12 February 2020 © Sanctuary, 2020. Quoting Frank Ostaseski The Five Invitations (Sydney: Macmillan, 2017). Image credit: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.
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