It's tricky writing, talking, and even singing about healing in the Bible. Many stories focus on Jesus physically "curing" people's illnesses or disabilities. We know, though, that this is not most people's experience in 2023. Many Christians live with ongoing illnesses and disabilities. Does Brandon Lake actually describe biblical healing in his new song "Tear [...]
[...] in North America, we have an accomplishment-based approach to life instead of a contribution-based approach. Employment serves as validation of our accomplishments and worth as citizens but in reality, accomplishments are only a credit to the individual. Contributions on the other hand, are for the common good.
Often, somebody that holds a lot of power or privilege of one type has an easier on-ramp to additional forms of privilege and power than somebody who does not. Thus, rather than being evenly distributed, power tends to accumulate. This is a symptom of our broken humanity rather than the values of the kingdom of God in action.
It might sound cliché, but I was hired to help others and they helped me just as much, perhaps even more. I learned about acceptance, trust, diversity, and what it meant to have a place to belong. Looking back, I realize God was beginning to teach me about 1 Corinthians 12 and what it means to be whole.
Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Luke 5: 22
It is a long and slow process for me, a well-educated and nondisabled white male, to appreciate and to pay attention to the ways that God is working on the margins. But whether it is in pausing my frantic productivity to gaze for a moment at crisp pin-points of light in the night sky or in turning my attention to a neighbour who does not use words to communicate, I am “Learning how to say ‘Hallelujah’ from the ones who say it right.”
God’s order is not our own, and the upside-down Kingdom is often led by those whom we might prefer to ignore or condemn. “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” the Pharisees demand. I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Pay close enough attention, he instructs, and if we’re quiet we will hear even the voice of these silent rocks.
As we welcome the new year, we're pleased to share this poem by Mike Bonikowsky.
The therapeutic response to chronic illness or disability is usually rest and pacing. However we live in a society where that is increasingly discouraged, if not impossible. Most people’s temptation is to change their circumstances or to find solutions quickly, rather than trust that God will provide what is needed. Instead, Mary conveys a sense of peace from the beginning. It is this sense of peace which comes from God, and trusting in God, that I think empowered Mary and can also empower us to respond to whatever we face thoughtfully and prayerfully.
These two stories may seem quite different – in the first I was overlooked and in the second I was singled out – but the experience of both was similar. Sitting on my walker meant that I was perceived differently than the people around me.