December 18, 2010
One week until Christmas! Deck the halls, damn the torpedoes, and full steam ahead! Oh, that is, if we're not in a cast from fingers to armpits like one of my Davis friends, or recovering from surgery like another one, or sitting with her leg sprained from falling on the ice like a Utah woman I know. Or like yours truly, figuring out how to do Christmas with a bone fragment floating around in my wrist and being told to change everything in my life from the way I keyboard to the way I bicycle and the way I sleep at night!
And yet, this last week has been about healing. And joy. Freedom and grace, and miracles a-borning.
The gospel of John gives us the scripture for today, and tells us nothing of the natal story of Jesus; there are no shepherds, no angels, no embellishment. John starts by telling us that Jesus was first a part of Creation, the thought and action of God. Then he came to earth not by happenstance, not falling from the sky, but as the Word of God spoken for us to hear and believe. With that in mind, let's enter into God's Word.
Prayer: "Lord, the time grows short and the labor pangs remind us that the time of birthing is upon us. Draw close to us, Jesus, to be Emmanuel, God with us. Amen."
John 3:31-36 (New International Version, ©2010)
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.
When I went to the physical therapist this morning I was awed by his depth of understanding of the world within the few cubic inches of my wrist and hand. The diplomas on his wall from Duke and from Cal bespoke his credentials. His examination and discourse proved his diagnostic skill. His advice showed wisdom. But it was his ability to communicate with me the causes and intricacies of the perfect storm in my hand that convinced me that I needed to follow the regimen he prescribed for my recovery.
Put another way, even though my doctor had told me the results of my xray, the physical therapist communicated my condition in terms I could understand. He sat with me, demonstrated how the arm, wrist, and hand were distressed and malfunctioning, and offered a clear path to rehabilitation.
God chose to send his only son so that Jesus could communicate in ways we could understand. Christ demonstrated how we suffered, how we lived in distress, and gave us a clear path for healing. He didn't accidentally fall from heaven; he was God's final word to heal the people God loved so much.
Mary gave birth to a baby, who came to give birth to our new lives.
Healing comes in many forms. The people I mentioned earlier are all faithful Christians, which does not prevent them from trusting medical care providers to provide the treatments necessary to help broken bones knit, intricate connections in ligaments and tendons being repaired, and inflamed nerve channels being calmed. Muscles and tendons need specific care if they are to regain full function and complete health.
Human beings need God's spiritual care to function fully in complete health. We should all follow his advice as regards or perfect spiritual rehabilitation.
Prayer: "Mighty God of all healing, provide me with opportunities to come to full health this season as Christ enters into the world, Emmanuel, God with us. Let the awe of new life amaze and astonish me. Amen."
To your good health!
For further reading:
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
2 Samuel 7:23-29