Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Healer

He had mercy on them, he had always had mercy on them. From the beginning of all things, he was not only the Maker, but the Healer, for his children were broken and they lived in pain: pain of body, pain of mind, pain of heart and pain of soul. Every one of them was disabled in their deepest places; every one of them needed the restoration that only he could give.

To the man and the woman, naked and afraid in the garden, he offered a covering for the deep wound of their shame and a promise to restore their broken hope.

To those writhing in the agony of poison, desperate and helpless in their pain, expecting to die in the wilderness with no belonging place, he offered the simplest of remedies. All they had to do was turn their heads and open their eyes .. a repentance so very small ..

Their cries continually went up before him.

He offered liberty to slaves, and dignity to women. He saw their pain, and his mercy overflowed. He came to the desperate concubine, and she named him “the God who sees”, because, while everyone else ignored or objectified her, the Lord of all that is acknowledged and responded to her pain.

He came among them, he walked among them: a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He carried their pain, he carried their brokenness, ultimately he carried his light down into their darkness and his life down into their death, and their sin down into his absolute forgiveness. He was made man, and the pain and shame and degradation of being human assaulted him from every angle.

They came to him and he healed them: the lame, the blind, the deaf, those with strange fevers or withered, useless limbs. But it was never only their bodies, though relief for their physical pain was often the first thing that they sought. The God who had made them knew their nature, he knew how fearfully and wonderfully their flesh and their spirit were intertwined.

And so he spoke to them. He commended their stuttering faith, he pronounced forgiveness to the man who was brought with a paralysed body, he acknowledged his acceptance (not revulsion) for the woman who had bled for twelve shameful years. And for the lepers, the most despised and rejected of people, he offered not only healing of their terrible disfigurement but a reminder of how to be received back into the community of their people.
And the fools, blinded by his familiar humanity, said to him, “Physician heal yourself”. And they could not see that it was their own unbelief that got in the way. That stopped them from receiving from the abundance of their giving. Meanwhile, the helpless and the hopeless, the ones who had nothing, and therefore nothing to lose, received with open-handed wonder. The demonized were there, in all their agony, and he spoke with authority and their tormentors were gone. And for some, death itself was turned backwards, foreshadowing a greater resurrection.

But the deepest healing of all could not be done by words alone. Sin and death must be overcome from the inside. So, open-eyed and fixed of face, he went forward into death and hell, through impossible agony of body and soul, and then returned from the dead to become, in himself, the way by which the terrors of death and judgment could be overcome.

And still he heals, and his children come with their broken prayers and his mercy still pours forth to them. And one day he will come again, in his final act of healing, and all that is shall no longer groan in brokenness, but be made anew; and a new song shall fill the new heavens and new earth, for all creation shall be utterly well.

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