“Wounded for me, wounded for me
There of the cross he was wounded for me…”
I was surprised when informed that the topic for the Lenten Breakfast series I had been asked to participate in was “Wounded for me” a phrase from a protestant hymn verse. I was surprised because people really do not talk much about woundedness whether of ourselves, or of others. We exist in a culture of self-improvement. We do not usually publicly recognize woundedness in ourselves or others. Jesus woundedness is mentioned in hymns, religious publications and sermons and this is as close as most of us come to being able to talk about it, Why? Because:
Wounds are unsightly
Wounds are painful.
Wounds need care, lots of care, and time for healing
Wounds scare us
Jesus wounded for us. That is a theological statement; a description of a traditional understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ life, death & resurrection for Christians. The actual phrase from the hymn verse that is the topic of these talks “Wounded for ME” hits a whole lot closer to home, it is more personal, more threatening. It reminds each of us that we have some responsibility, some accountability for the wounding of the Lord of life.
It is interesting, and very telling, that after the resurrection Jesus was seen and known to Thomas and the other followers of Jesus by his woundedness. The wounds became a mark of his identity.
In our Episcopal tradition we speak of present day Christians as the body of Christ in the world. Usually what we mean by that it is through us, in the world here and now, the work of God is attempted, Gospel proclamation is made and the kingdom of God is advanced in the world. The faithful Christian is meant to be the hands, feet, heart and voice of Christ in the midst of the world’s suffering.
But I believe there is another perspective. God is proactive – God does not wait for us to arrive on the scene to begin. Jesus is already in the world, is already at work even, and especially, in places and situations we avoid or evade. As a result we will see the face of Jesus in the woundedness of the world. When we look at the world we see the woundedness of Jesus anew. As I look around I see our wounded savior –
- In the elder who told me she often has to make the decision of whether to buy food or pay for a prescription
- In a neighborhood resident who lives daily with the harsh reality resulting from substance abuse, lack of education and urban poverty
- In youth without resources or encouragement to consider continuing their education
- In families losing their home because of unemployment
- In family members grieving the loss of a loved one due to a DWI
- In the child living with physical or emotional abuse
- In adults I know who still struggle with the effects of childhood abuse
- In the elder at the health care facility who has so few visitors
- In the neighbor who is so lonely
- In a friend whose physical pain is exceeded only by her emotional pain
- In the face of a migrant worker we saw at an Immigration checkpoint near the Arizona border, handcuffed, thirsty and deeply grieving for his family who will not have his wages to help feed them
- In the lives of those who are victims of financial frauds
- In the pain of those who have lose dear ones in disasters
- In all who are despised, ignored or neglected by us and by the church
Almost 20 centuries later the wounds are still not healed. Each new generation find ways to wound Jesus, even as some old wounds begin to fade. New ones are made and other are re-opened in each generation. By each one of us.
Yet the love of Christ bears these wounds willingly, and invites us to embrace woundedness; invites us to become wounded healers of the world. For only in admitting our woundedness are we able to help God to heal others who are wounded. Only in acknowledging our own woundedness do we gain the courage to advocate for changes that will ameliorate the wounding of others.
As a hymn in our hymnal phrases it “O wounded hands of Jesus build in us your new creation…”
Wounded for me, wounded for you, wounded for us to help us. Calling us to become that new creation; to work witness and advocate as co-creators of the kingdom of love in our corner of God’s world.