Historical setting: 602 C.E. The road in the valley
My gifted power is healing. Anyone’s healing is one of those unimaginable events of life like birthing, growing, aging, experiencing. It changes us from our physical being right through our hopes and fears. The healed and the caregivers alike are never the same. But the Creator of this amazement seems to leave it up to each of us to find purpose in this drastic turning.
As for me, it’s tempting to heap everything I know from all my lives into a mountain of authority where I can stand and shout ancient truths. If they would only listen I would shout to my apparently nonsensical children and tell them what righteousness really is. I find it frustrating just now, to hear my sons considering if it is better to return me to my loving wife as a dead man, or a suffering, but still living man.
Healing is as much about those who witness it as it is about the wounded. When Jesus healed the man who was blind from birth [John 9] the real story wasn’t about spit and mud but about the wonder of those who witnessed it. Whose sin caused the blindness? The story of the healing of the paralytic [Mark 2:1-12 and synoptics] was about faith of the man’s friends who dug the hole in the roof and lowered the man down. It was the caregivers’ faith that elicited Jesus forgiving the sins of the man. And it was all that forgiving that troubled the authorities. Then Jesus simply asked the man to get up and walk and that made it notable as a healing. It was called a miracle, but it was healing.
Healing changes everyone — caregiver, roof cutter, mat corner rope holder, witness, healed person, all. Healing encompasses grief and empathy, fear and suffering, amazement and creative awe. Healing turns everyone. So it is painfully true that the long-suffering—the one named for the hurt like the paralytic — has the new identity as the healed person, or perhaps now he has a name. Healing is even a resetting of relationship for both the abused and the abuser.
Dear God, this morning the bishops’ guards surely found the shallow grave they made for me, abandoned. Stay near them also, in this repentance, this turning, as you stay near my sons, and me. Thank you. Amen.