Lent 2018 – Heart Healing

Lent 2018 – Heart Healing

During Lent this year Linda and I are reading the meditations of Edward Hays in his The Lenten Pharmacy; Daily Healing Therapies (Ava Maria Press, 2006). Hays reminds us that lent18a
saviour comes from the Greek word soter,  meaning “healer.” “The gospels relate how Jesus as a saviour-healer tended sicknesses of body and soul. To say that Jesus is my saviour primarily means that he is my healer, physician and pharmacist.” (LP, 5)  On Ash Wednesday he reminds us that the “ashes are also an ageless remedy for sickly prayer. Praying from such a position of humility (lying in the dust of ones death-rest) heals the soul – just as it did for the tax collector. God, be merciful to me, a sinner! Luke 18:13” (LP, 8)

Until recently it’s been quite difficult for me to say “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” I hope that most of that resistance was because of my soul knowing that God loves me just the way I am; “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I also believe that God wants me to be whole, saved, healed. God has began a good work in me before birth (created in image of God…divine spark…original blessing and all that). Through God’s grace I experience that healing love on nearly a daily basis. I also experience how deep my need for ongoing healing is, nearly on a daily basis. Maybe saying that I’m a sinner felt almost like a denial of the healing that God’s unconditional love is doing in my soul and body. Maybe when I said those words I returned to those feelings of believing I was alent18c dirty rotten failure, or to the “killjoy, finger-wagging, holier-that-thou moralism, with afussy, nit-picking concentration on small personal misdemeanours (DRB, 97)” idea of sin I grew up with.

 

It’s interesting that my awareness of God’s acceptance and healing makes it much easier to believe that God’s rule of love has come and change my mind; to say “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” I’ve always known I’m a sinner but now it seems easier to say sorry for missing the purpose for what I was created,as N. T. Wright so wisely puts it. “Humans were made to be  “image-bearers,” to reflect the praises of creation back to the Creator and to reflect the Creator’s wise and loving stewardship into the world. Humans are made to worship the God who created them in his own image and so to be sustained and renewed in that image-bearing capacity. Those who do this are formed by this activity to become the generous, humble stewards though whom God’s creative and sustaining love is let loose into the world. Humans and Israel alike have turned aside from that purpose, distorted the vision and abused their vocation.” (DRB, 99)

Wright’s understanding of where I miss the mark and why I need to stay true to the image I was created in – sounds different than “turn or burn”. We need to hear his wisdom about “what the early Christians meant when they said that the Messiah had died “for our sins in accordance with the Bible. (DRB, 99)” His understanding of sin, gives me something to work towards, not only stuff to avoid or feel shamed about. It gives me hope which I never heard from those early condemning religious voices in my life. I’m sure they thought they were doing God and me a favour by pointing out my mistakes and how big a disappointment I was to God as I rejected all that Jesus did for me by smoking or listening to rock and roll. There must have been some mention of forgiveness, mercy, grace and love in there somewhere, but all I remember is those loud voices which crushed my sensitive heart and soul. The saddest thing is that those voices quickly became my own. No wonder I got depressed. What could I do??!! You get told you’re a failure enough times you believe it and feel shitty. No wonder you avoid those voices and decide to screw it all. I remember thinking “If I’m a total failure at being good enough to serve God then what’s left – serving the devil, I guess.” That didn’t work out very well, believe me.

The Good News of Jesus the Christ is that God loves me no matter how much I miss the mark of being who God created me to be; whether intentionally back then or less intentionally now.  I am very grateful and humbled by the love that gentle but firmly invites me to be a “generous, humble steward through who God’s creative and sustaining love is let loose into the world.” (DRB, 100) I actually believe that’s a possibility. Thanks be to God.

I sense a wry grin

When I sin, no lighting crash

Come let us reason

Now I’m “…swimming in an ocean of love…” https://youtu.be/CNaJFHufWks

About gsmurphy1

Husband, father, son, brother, listener, seeker, encourager, pilgrim, stained glass artist
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