The Wounded Healer:
Good Friday: April 10, 2009
by Greg Little
The Lenten season's remembrance of the crucifixion and resurrection are the essence of the Christian faith. For me, this time also represents the culmination of a life fulfilled in mission, reaching out to all humanity with a love beyond ourselves, and working for justice.
The ministry of Jesus Christ was and is an incarnational ministry--a mission where content meets context. We have a God who became human and experienced the good and bad of humanity; the joys and temptations of the world; compassion; agony; and death.
In times of adversity and vulnerability, we do not see Jesus beam up or use His divinity to fly away. Rather, Jesus turns to God. In the temptation in the desert, Jesus uses God's Word; in John's account of the arrest of Jesus, His first action is prayer. Jesus provides the model for incarnational ministry through His experience of human suffering and His response to suffering: seeking God's presence.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, Paul talks about a God of comfort:
This passage illustrates the connectedness of humans with God and with each other. Through Jesus we have a God intimately woven in humanity and all creation. The passage in Corinthians says that we may use the comfort that flows to us to comfort others. Joy and suffering are not separate entities; in God, both experiences can teach and serve.
What gives me a charge during the Lenten season is valuing my experiences, both joyful and sorrowful, as encounters with God. Our experiences make us outlets that others may use to connect with the ultimate Source, and channels through which God's compassion and justice may be poured out.
When Peter began violently defending Jesus from arrest, Jesus exclaimed, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?" (John 18:11) Without the mockery and agonizing death, Jesus' mission would not be complete.
Great leaders and seekers of a better world (Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, among others) are not distant from the oppression and injustice they strive to eradicate. Instead they are in the midst of it--living as well as fighting it. I love that Jesus is not simply a healer, but a wounded healer.
May we be intimate with the sufferings of the world so that we may be used as well-tuned instruments in God's movement of justice and love.
Greg Little is a US-2 living in Baltimore, Maryland. He is serving, learning, and loving the community neighborhood of Hampden through outreaches such as the Food Pantry, SeniorCenter, and Community Services Office. Please pray for God's grace to infuse the awesome work in Hampden.
Date posted: Mar 10, 2009