Monthly Archives: April 2014

Wounds

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This idea of wounds has been sitting on my heart the last few weeks. And the thing is, as you begin to be sensitive to wounded spirits, you begin to see them in many places…….in the tears of a friend……in the face of a colleague….in the posture of a student…….in the words of a stranger….

we are the walking wounded.

Our wounds derive from many places…in the carelessness of a family member…….in the harsh words of one in authority………in an unfathomable event……..in the indifference of a friend, heck the indifference of the world……..and too often in the caustic judgment of those who just don’t know….they just. don’t. know.

So many of us are walking through a season of life where our wounds are deeply felt. For some, we may even feel defined by them. And it’s interesting how differently we react to our wounds. For some, they make us defiant, ready for a fight. For some they are carefully tucked away and compartmentalized because we know to deal with them is just a little beyond us right now.  For others they are so deeply hidden, yet so deeply felt that we’re certain anyone who looks closely will see them plainly on us. And for others, they are so near the surface waiting for that moment to break free.

In general we are good at hiding the wounds, but they ARE there. And they ARE felt. And it’s a b*$@#.

So is that it? Life sucks; we get hurt and that’s the end?? I think sometimes if we’re honest, that’s exactly how we feel. But that can’t be it. Because it actually doesn’t remain the it. I have lived smack dab in the middle of disappointment, disillusionment, and outright pain.  Most of us have. And at times I was certain I would always feel that way, stuck in the muck, moving slow motion through the uncertainty that surrounds pain; struggling to survive, to just….breathe.

But we do survive and would venture to say at times even thrive.

And what better time to celebrate the hope of thriving, the hope of healing, the hope of renewal, than Easter. Easter is resurrection. It is remembering, if perchance we have forgotten, that we are people of resurrection, defined by the resurrection. And what is resurrection but bringing life to what is dead and hope to what is hopeless.

Sometimes this may seem too good to be true. In these moments we must be reminded of what came before the resurrection. Before the resurrection came the cross. “Because of the cross, we can never say that God doesn’t understand.” (Evans)

He……understands……He’s been there; He’s felt that; He’s been overwhelmed by the pain.

I think this perhaps is the only answer that remotely makes sense when we are wounded. Not that our wounds are understandable, not that we must be strong and endure the pain; but that we are not alone in our wounds. We are never left to experience our wounds alone, because Jesus was already there.

One of my favorite book series is The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. In the first book The Magician’s Nephew, a young boy Diggory finds himself face to face with Aslan, the God character. Diggory so desperately wants to ask Aslan for help regarding his dying mother but is fearful in light of some very recent, very big mistakes he has made. What he finds when he gains the courage to look into the face of Aslan, is tears of understanding and compassion. Aslan himself weeps along with Diggory for the pain he is experiencing. He understands and feels his sorrow. He has been there.

I love this picture of a God who knows our pain, who feels our pain. Christ understands pain; he understands discouragement. Isaiah 53:5 says, “but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Christ understands wounds; He was crushed by them.

When we are moving uncertainly through our wounds, through our pain, may we look to Jesus. Look to Jesus and look to the cross. Look to the cross; look to the cross. We look to the cross and it doesn’t explain pain or discouragement, but rather we see that God shares our circumstance and can be trusted. There is hope in trusting God. Hope because the story of God does not end at the cross. Hope because the story of God is a story of resurrection. And resurrection is life.

May we be a people of the resurrection. A people who have felt the pain of the cross, but live in the hope of the resurrection; because resurrection. is. life.

 

An Unabashed Dedication to the Band

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Thursday nights are a highlight of my week. Why you ask? Because I get to have worship practice with the best band ever (no bias included). The phenomenon of Thursday practice is that it doesn’t matter how tired or cranky I am; it doesn’t matter if at first I don’t quite feel like going to practice because it’s been a long day; it doesn’t matter if my voice is hoarse from talking all day in the classroom. By the time I am in the thick of Thursday night practice, I am blessed to be there. I walk away light in spirit and with a heart overflowing and anticipating the coming weekend to gather with a pretty special community of believers.

Practice on Thursday lasts on average from an hour and a half to two hours. But tonight we had a larger task than normal. Tonight we were preparing for not only one service but two- Good Friday and Easter. So tonight we were in for an extra long haul. And we did it…..they did it.  So here it comes…..the sentimental ravings of someone whose life is enriched by the best volunteers one could ever ask for……..

Thank you for allowing me to be your leader. Thank you for making me look good. Thank you for putting up with my obsessions, whether it be Jesus Culture, All Sons and Daughters, or the crazy time signature of a Brilliance song. Thank you for indulging my key changes with minimal fuss. Thank you for helping me to not take myself too seriously. Thank you for the hours of practice you put in before you even get to Thursday night. Thank you for eventually coming around to the songs you are not-so-sure about at first. Thank you for being far better musicians than I will ever be. Thank you for working behind the scenes tirelessly. And thank you for loving Jesus. Thank you for loving Jesus in the way that you serve. Out of the overflow of my heart, thank you.