Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Vigil - Mar 27, 2016

Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY
Br. Joseph Wallace-Williams, n/OHC
Easter Vigil - Sunday, March 27, 2016

Romans 6:3-11 
Luke 24:1-12

"Christ is Risen... Wounds and all!

Br. Joseph Wallace-Williams preaching at the Easter Vigil.

I got wounds.

You got wounds.

All God’s children got wounds

When we get to heaven

We gonna shout all over God’s heaven!


When I was younger we used to sing:

When I think of the goodness of Jesus

And all He's done for me

My soul cries out hallelujah

Thank God for saving me

The premise of the song is that if you think you will thank. So then the key to the thanking is the thinking. If you’re thinking is off then your thanking is off.

John Milton writes: The mind is its own place! And in itself it can make a heaven out of hell or make hell out of heaven. Jesus in his Resurrection shows us a different way. A different way to carry our wounds. A different way to think about the wounds we encounter in life. Those thorns in the flesh that are caused by: illness or accident. Wounds inflicted by traumatic experiences.

Our wounds may be visible to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. They may be invisible because we carry them as scars upon our: hearts, our minds, and our psyches. My suffering may not look like your suffering and her suffering might not look like his suffering, but at the fundamental, foundational level of our emotions and nerves the journey of life will lead each of us into the rawness of suffering – a place of:

Deep hurt, a grief that we just can’t seem to shake, pain that just won’t heal, rejection that we just can’t seem to get over, trauma that we dare not speak.

So you see, depending on the way we were raised and our individual personality types we all carry our wounds differently. Some of us suffer in silence: We camouflage our wounds and no one around us knows that we are bleeding slowly to death. There are those of us who bleed all over the place: Exposing our wounds, risking infection not as a badge of courage but to gain attention and sympathy by getting other personalities to commiserate with us!  Because misery loves company!

Then there are the walking wounded: Injured enough to be impaired but not enough to take us out of the game. There are the waiting wounded: Injured and caught in a chronological time warp waiting for the reversal of the condition. There are the weary and wounded: injured, tired, drained of spiritual resources; drained of enough sanity that when we actually do go to sleep we can’t get any rest. Too tired to get up and too wired to stay down. Then there are the wasted and wounded: those who have resigned to being wounded thinking that it is permanent. Thinking that it will happen again. Thinking that it is some sort of predestined punishment and so we waste away because of the wounding.

Beloved, our wounds can fester, and metastasize, and become a kind of sunglasses which we wear that colors with gloom our eyes so that when something good actually happens to us our wounds darken our vision, darken our response that naturally occurs from receiving every good and perfect gift offered day in and day out by God.  So instead of seeing the blessing we see only the wounds.

This is when our wounds get in the way. Our wounds trick us into thinking that we are somehow stuck in a scarred and marked life.

I would imagine that only a few of you have seen the movie Medea’s family reunion.

There is a wonderful song in the movie that goes like this:

As time passes by they begin to multiply

*There are wounds in the way.

Adding up secretly like the rings of an old oak tree.

*There are wounds in the way.

 Some old and some new,

all stifling, debilitating and cruel.

*There are wounds in the way.

Some are passed down from elder to youth

they don’t even belong to you

*There are wounds in the way.

As time passes through,

they begin to accrue a strange sort of value

Some that you think are worth holding on to

*There are wounds in the way

We all have wounds that are getting in the way of our living every day. Jesus unlike many of us who are far too willing to: clothed our wounds, perfume our wounds, slap a smile on our wounds and pretend our wounds don’t exist.

Jesus in the resurrection shows his wounds to his friend’s. Yes, to a group locked behind closed doors. To a group locked in by fear because the wounded tend to hide themselves or strikeout and hurt somebody like they were hurt. Yet even though they were locked in by fear and the past Jesus showed up anyway. Even though they were locked in, they could not lock out Jesus. Jesus shows up anyway and shows his wounds.

This Lent I decided to spend some time wondering why Jesus showed his wounds.

Some scholars say that Jesus showed his disciples his wounds as a way of proving his authenticity. The wounds prove that he was who he said he was. That he was the real Christ and not an impostor.

The wounds were the evidence. The telltale signs of the: real bodily, visceral, flesh and bone, body resurrection; and not just a symbolic one. The wounds were validation of his life and his teaching. You see Jesus was: not just some good guy.

Not just a good teacher. Not just a good moral compass.

This Jesus! This man who stood before them was and is really the Son of God.

Who said that he would suffer. Who said he was going to die. Who said that he would rise on the third day and he did! And so Jesus shows up and shows his wounds; his wounds which were a result of somebody else’s sins and not his.

Now ain’t that something, you were wounded not for what you did but for what somebody else did! Chew on that.

Flora Slosson Wuellner says that the wounds were the Lord’s acts of mercy and kindness.    You see, the resurrection did not blot out his wounds. The resurrection did not reverse his wounds. Jesus rose from the dead in spite of his wounding.  Jesus rose from the dead with his bruises, with his scars.

The scars themselves were a sign of healing from the wounds that had formed where his skin was ripped off from carrying his cross. The wounds were a sign of healing from the lacerations inflicted by the whip. The wounds were a sign of healing from the penetrating wound inflicted by the spear in his side. Clots had formed over the bleeding holes in his hand’s and feet. The clots indicated healing. Like the stretch marks on a woman’s body that shows that at one time new life had stretched the skin to the breaking point.

It is healed now but the scar still remains.

Jesus showed his wounds because they identify him with the human condition. That God fully entered into our daily life through his son. That God entered into the daily injustice of our world. That God passionately carries our wounds in His body, and he longs for our healing!

Beloved in the suffering of Jesus we can find all of our suffering: All of our pain is projected onto those nails. All of our brokenness is bundled into that crown of thorns.

Our tears are his tears. Our hurt is his hurt. All of our darkness is found in the darkness of Calvary where Our Lord cried out in painful agony and in that lonely tomb.

The wounds are a reminder to us that God will: never negate, never ignore,

never over intellectualize, never minimize the human condition, and that God will never be beyond our reach or our cry.

Yes, God suffered for us, and God suffers with us now! Jesus rose from the dead in spite of his wounds. The wounds of his descent did not prevent his assent. The wounds of his humiliation did not prevent his elevation.

You and I may be wounded but we are still in the hand of God. We may be weary but we are still in the hand of God. We may be wavering or worn out but we are still in the hand of God. We may have old wounds. We may have new ones. We may have opened ones or closed ones. Yet God still holds us in his hand. Our help is in the name of the Lord. God is for us; our wounds cannot abort the will of God.The wounds of his demise did not prevent his comeback! Which brings me back to where I started:

When I think of the goodness of Jesus

And all He's done for me

My soul cries out hallelujah

Thank God for saving me

Beloved, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is an invitation from God. It is a call to us that it is time to rise above our wounds. Alleluia Christ is risen! And so will you TOO Alleluia!!!!!

1 comment:

Alex Angioli said...

It is good to read about the role of wounds in life. As a Counsellor, I frequently get couples wanting to know how to regain trust in their relationship. It is not trust that's the issue, but wounds. As they enter into willingness, then willingness to forgive, the process of healing wounds can happen. In both practical and mystical ways Jesus can show us the path.