Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

The Process

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Just as there’s no way to rush a flower to bloom, we cannot go beyond the stage we are in — we have to move at the pace that feels doable to us. This is why I invite you to respect the intensity of your experience and to remember that the in-between is sacred too. If I’ve learned anything, it may be that the way we do something matters as much as what we do. The process of blooming is as valuable as the flower it produces.

— Aundi Kolber, Try Softer, p. 19

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 10, 2020

God Unwrathed

Friday, September 11th, 2020

The Cross reveals God unwrathed — nonviolent, self-giving, radically forgiving, co-suffering love. And this — impossibly, amazingly — is how he overcomes evil with good. God in Christ draws all the evil, all the sin, all the violence and the resulting suffering into himself. And the Light of his love overcomes the darkness so that from that moment, “It is finished” also means “It begins!” What begins? “Behold, I am making all things new!”

— Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike Way, p. 169

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 24, 2020

Restorative Justice

Monday, September 7th, 2020

It’s time for Christianity to rediscover the deeper biblical theme of restorative justice, which focuses on rehabilitation and reconciliation and not punishment. (Read Ezekiel 16 for a supreme example of this.) We could call Jesus’ story line the “myth of redemptive suffering” — not as in “paying a price” but as in offering the self for the other. Or “at-one-ment” instead of atonement!

Restorative justice, of course, comes to its full demonstration in the constant healing ministry of Jesus. Jesus represents the real and deeper level of teaching of the Jewish Prophets. Jesus never punished anybody! Yes, he challenged people, but always for the sake of insight, healing, and restoration of people and situations to their divine origin and source. Once a person recognizes that Jesus’s mission (obvious in all four Gospels) was to heal people, not punish them, the dominant theories of retributive justice begin to lose their appeal and their authority.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 142

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, September 7, 2020

Agents of Healing and Change

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

In this way, the spiritual eyes through which we see the world change everything. If our default lens is sin, we tend to look ahead to the afterlife, but if we focus on suffering, we’ll lean toward presently transforming the planet in real time — and we’ll create community accordingly. The former seeks to help people escape the encroaching moral decay by getting them into heaven; the latter takes seriously the prayer Jesus teaches his disciples, that they would make the kingdom come — that through lives resembling Christ and work that perpetuates his work, we would actually bring heaven down. Practically speaking, sin management seems easier because essentially all that is required of us is to preach, to call out people’s errors and invite them to repentance, and to feel we’ve been faithful. But seeing suffering requires us to step into the broken, jagged chaos of people’s lives to be agents of healing and change. It’s far more time consuming and much more difficult to do as a faith community. It is a lot easier to train preachers to lead people in a Sinner’s Prayer than it is to equip them to address the systematic injustices around them.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 125

Photo: Isle of Staffa, Scotland, July 13, 2003

Compassion, Not Contempt

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

In the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus looks upon the crowd gathered before him and is deeply burdened by what he sees, not because of what they are doing or not doing, but because of what is being done to them and what it is creating in them (9:35-38). He is moved in that moment, not by some moral defect but by their internal turmoil. Just as when he feeds the multitudes, Jesus is not concerned with behavior modification, as we so often imagine; he is most concerned with meeting the needs that prevent people from knowing their belovedness, and he offers an expression of God’s provision. Matthew records that Jesus, seeing those in front of him, notes not their conduct but their condition, observing that they are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” This realization prompts a passionate, public appeal for those who would do the work of restoration and healing in the name of God. The distinction between seeing sin and seeing suffering is revelatory if we really let it seep into the deepest hollows of our hearts. Jesus’ default response to the fragile humanity before him is not contempt but compassion.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 124

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 7, 2020

An Important Choice

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

Forgiveness is above all a choice. It is a choice to find peace and live life fully. We can choose either to remain stuck in the pain and frustration of the past or to move on to the potential of the future. It is a choice we can all make, and it is a choice that will lead us to a healthier and happier life.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 217

Photo: Leithöfe, Germany, June 14, 1997

Part of Our Story

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Our scars are part of our story, but they are not its conclusion. The past is ours and will always be a part of us, and yet it is not all there is. It’s a process, moving from wounds to scars to grief to showing those scars. It takes time, and maybe therapy, and maybe being vulnerable in community, and maybe working through the twelve steps, and maybe making a lot of mistakes, and maybe experiencing a tiny bit of joy.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Shameless, p. 158-159

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, May 25, 2020.

Forgiveness

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

You have learned that forgiveness is not the same as approving of unkindness. Forgiveness does not mean you have to reconcile with someone who mistreated you. You do not have to forget what happened. Forgiveness does not mean you lie down and become a doormat when you are hurt.

Forgiveness means we find peace even though we were in pain and mistreated. Forgiveness means we move on in our life after an abandonment or affair. It means we become responsible for how we feel. Forgiveness means we learn to take painful events less personally. Forgiveness means we reconnect with our positive intention. Forgiveness means we change our grievance story. Forgiveness means that we do not stop smelling the roses simply because we are hurt. Forgiveness means we make better decisions for guiding our lives and forgiveness means we feel better.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p 208

Photo: Zweibrücken Rose Garden, June 2003

Minimizing Hurt

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

Learning to forgive can be more than just a way to resolve past hurts and grievances. People learn to use forgiveness to minimize their chance of getting hurt in the present as well as limit the amount of time they remain hurt from the past.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 179

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 25, 2020

The Holy City

Monday, April 27th, 2020

God’s beloved city in Revelation 21-22 is not primarily a vision for after we die, or for after Jesus returns. It is rather a vision that can transform the way we live out God’s reign in the world today. It is a vision of the healing leaves that God wants to lay on every broken heart, on every war-torn landscape. It is a vision of Lamb power in the world. And we are part of that vision. Once we have seen the new creation, the joy of that experience must inform everything we do.

— Barbara R. Rossing, The Rapture Exposed, p. 164

Photo: Potzbach, Germany, April 1997