As I was recovering from bearing physical wounds of surgery, hymns would often come to me as a means of encouragement and support.
Crown him the Lord of love; behold his hands and side, rich wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified; no angels in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bends their burning eye at mysteries so bright.
Perhaps these were the messages sent by the Holy Spirit from prayers prayed by others for my recovery. My wounds are still visible, as were Christ’s when he appeared to the Apostle Thomas. Wounds meant to kill this One sent by God for our salvation. “No angels can fully bear that sight…at mysteries so bright.” Wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53.5) By his stripes, his wounds, we are healed. Made well with God and ourselves. Shalom.
There is more to healing than just recovery of physical wounds. While on medical leave, I wanted to go a little deeper into what I had shared with you about healing from Richard Johnson’s book, Body, Mind, Spirit. I returned to read through Tilden Edwards, Sabbath Time: Understanding and Practice for Contemporary Christians, and Edward Jackson’s, Understanding Prayer: An Exploration of the Nature, Disciplines, and Growth of the Spiritual Life. I have made adjustments in beginning and ending my day and my weekends to give up time overly committed to presbytery work and wearying me and others out. I took walks in parks and gardens with Leslie to recapture the Psalmists thrill of God’s handiwork. I walked around my streets, taking note of my neighbors and shop owners—stopping in places I had not visited. I heard (many bird songs) and saw things (cricket matches on Saturday) I had been missing when body, mind, and spirit are not in sync and open to the wonder of all that surrounds me.
I am a work in progress. Meditative prayer at the start and close of the day, breaks for walking outside, and moments to be still all compete like rush hour traffic with the congestion of emails, people meetings, cries for acts of justice, and presbytery tasks surrounding me. Sometimes all this can feel like being in a crowded subway car—it has a pace of its own and might be held at a station for a while or by-pass other station stops. But as those I have been reading state: I can tell myself what I want to do with all this congestion of activity and opportunity and whether it fits into what God asks of me. Presbytery staff, colleagues, and I are watching to see if I am throttling up too fast returning to work. This too is part of a broader healing, and the Psalmists have been good friends to me, along with your prayers and encouragement. Thank you.