2017 – Cycle A
Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2:20b-25; John 10:1-10
A son suffering from alcoholism.
A woman suffering from cancer that continues to spread though her body.
A spouse with a blood disease.
A son in jail who is suffering from mental illness.
A man suffering from leukemia.
The frustration, hopelessness and gradual wearing down of a mother
struggling with the insurance and medical systems.
The weariness of the repetition of dialysis treatments.
The loss of independence and the helpless feeling of having to be cared for by another person.
People who are angry and turned in on themselves often resulting in immature behaviour.
A senior woman who on healing from one medical condition brakes a hip and is set back. Spouses mourning expected deaths of a husbands and wives.
The birth of a first child, grandchild, marred by a serious medical condition requiring surgery.
An unexpected death of a spouse and friend.
and the feeling of being robbed of something utterly dear and precious.
The loneliness of sitting down opposite an empty chair for dinner.
An estranged spouse dying of COPD.
A woman suffering from diabetes.
These and more are the wounds in the Body of Christ in this parish. These women and men, daughters and sons and their families sit among us each Sunday. Easter, shall we say, is a “broken alleluia” for them but an “alleluia” nonetheless for they continue to gather with us to be whole. Whether these sisters and brothers of ours and we ourselves realize it, they remind us that the risen Christ still bore his wounds. It is by his wounds that Jesus is recognized as risen Saviour. “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed the disciples his hands and side.” [John 20:19-20]
It is the regular presence of these men and women among us for worship and often their continued participation in other aspects of our parish life that attest to the transformative power of the resurrection. “If you are patient when you suffer…this is a grace before God…because Christ also suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” [1 Peter 2:19-21]
When these parishioners speak to me about their life’s situation, I am always amazed at their calm stillness and steadiness. They speak with a deep trust in God offering thanks for any moment of solace that sheds light and healing on their circumstances. I am reminded of the Canadian singer, Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem”.
“There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
Whenever we share in the suffering and woundedness of Christ our brokenness allows the light of the resurrection to get into us and transform us. In turn, our wounds and how we bear them are also the way others recognize the risen Christ through us.
When these wounded sisters and brothers speak there is always of sense of hope and steadily moving forward. These members of our parish embody the words of Psalm 23: “God guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.” Courage, patience, endurance. These are the attributes of athletes and so they are spiritual athletes among us.
Jesus left us two examples on the night of Holy Thursday, the washing of each other’s feet and later that night into Good Friday, patience in suffering.
Whose feet do you humbly wash? Who washes your feet?
How do you bear the sufferings that are the wounds of your life?
As Jesus’ wounds bore our sins and healed the world;
so our woundedness, those openings in our life to God’s grace, continue that healing of our world.