Monday, October 22, 2007

the happy bride's anguish

I was at a gathering of sorts—sort of a cross between an academic conference and a church gathering. Noise and people were everywhere. They were milling about in the large lecture hall of an academic building. There were 2 or 3 main speakers or guest presenters but I wasn’t much able to hear them on account of the noise and the number of people milling about and talking.

Outside this hub room, I came into what seemed to be a hallway. It also was busy with people passing through. I saw an old friend. She was restrained in a highchair for toddlers. I went over to greet her and noticed in horror that she had carved up her arms with a heavy pocket knife. There were wounds everywhere. It was as if she had carved words/messages into her arms. Some had scabbed over and others were open deep cuts and yet oozing. “What are you doing?” I cried in horror as I tried to cover her arms with my hands in a gesture of healing. Her face responded repeatedly alternating between jolly humor and deep anguish. I ignored her happy face and her joking, expressing my grief over her scars and wounds. Deep grief and anguish emerged.

You who bear the name of Christ, you who would speak his words to others, you who would bless and serve others--you are restrained to infant chairs far beyond your years. Your maturity, oh church, has been stunted to the stage of a toddler. The pain of your wounds have not been healed. Your face cannot express the hurt that you have experienced. You wear only your Sunday happy face. Yet the pain remains, expressed in scars and deep wounds written on the arms that you would use to love and serve others. Your blessing and your help, oh bride of Christ, is scarred. Why then is your face still happy, happy, happy? Why, oh you who suffers with Christ, do you not weep for your anguish is great and your self mutilation is horrendous?

Rise up oversized believer! Break out of your infant chair. Do not be content with your toddler’s diet and the wounds in your soul. Grieve with Christ on his way to Calvary. Be healed by the great physician. Confess your sins to one another, so that your healing may come. Walk into your place in the kingdom. Stand on the platforms of the world. Speak forth the words of God with boldness in the lecture halls of the world. Do not be content any longer to remain sidelined in the hallways and corridors of life, restrained to infant chairs. Who has told you, oh daughter of Israel, that this is your lot? Who has told you that you should not weep and groan for the pain of your past? Do you not notice that your good deeds bear the fruit of your own pain? Do you not hear the great physician’s voice? Rise up, oh you who bear the name of Christ! Be healed. Speak forth his glory. But remember from whence came your healing.

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