A Space for Healing (2)
Assumptions: God is unlimited love and grace. The abundance of God, that is love, is poured out upon the world, creating, redeeming, healing, making whole. The healing of individuals – in body, heart, mind, soul and spirit – of communities, of families, of congregations, of societies, of the world. The streams of God’s grace reach out through all creation: in the words of Charles Wesley, “Enough for all, enough for each, enough for evermore.” A wealth of possibility, promise and potential.
Affirming this, the worship will also pose the question: How does the abundance of God engage with pain, suffering, loss and grief? How do we, as wounded people, become involved in the healing of those whose lives touch ours? Those whom we discover “by the way”? Where do we find the resources for healing? How is it that, being wounded ourselves, we are given the resources to enable the healing of others? Central Gospel image: the Good Samaritan
Intention: being all at different points on the road, we have come together, to hear God’s and receive God’s healing word; to catch a vision for ourselves, and for God’s people; to help each other take a step forward on the way.
Gospel: Luke 10.25-37
the abundance of God’s love available to all for growth and healing;
the Good Samaritan as a “wounded healer”/image of Christ the Wounded Healer; ourselves as companions of Christ on the road, encouraging each other with the “healing story”.
The chasm in the wilderness, shaped like a wound, symbolises the human condition, our own need for healing, and the pain and suffering of the world. This is the wilderness through which Christ walks as a wounded healer.
The joy and hope and peace of the Gospel is this – the heart of the Good News is this – that in the wilderness God provides an inspiring fire, a stream of living water, a feast of good things. That though we may be wounded, in the divine mercy we are given power to become children of God, a new identity that reflects the face of God, so that, in the power of that grace, we become healers, too.
With a cosmic compassion,
A cross-shaped commitment to our good,
And an eternity of confidence;
that the storm will break in blessing,
the desert yield bread,
and the way to life will open at our feet.
In this house of bread, where God gives an abundance.
In this house of love, where God gives assurance.
In this house of peace, where God is a fountain of life and hope.
In this house of light, where God gives healing.
Where we meet with ourselves, one another and our God.
Here in the Wild, with the One who walks here,
Wounded, but whole.
Meditation: Jericho Road
We are all at different points on the road. Any answer we give has to be provisional because today is only one stage in the journey we are making, individually and together. The Good Samaritan as someone who shared God’s abundance. In a dry place, a desert place. Who found the wounded man and lifted him and carried him and provided for him. Who in the course of his own journey, shared his abundance with the person thrown into his path, and set him on his way again. The Samaritan was not the source of healing strength or power – he was – like as not – a wounded man himself – wounded by discrimination, division – we do not know what wounds he carried. What mattered is that he shared. That he felt able to share.
Outline some Biblical resources
offer pointers or further questions that might help people to organise and build on the insights gained from personal reflection and group discussion.
The point of the Bible study is that we are called and resourced for healing, despite our different situations, our different experience, our different levels of maturity or understanding or experience – we are all called, all resourced.
How does this happen? Enable people to share stories of calling to healing. Stories of abundance that enable healing. Stories of the healing, the calling and the abundance, the resources, all coming from the same place.
Share stories or images that have given them an insight into what it means to be
- called into healing (despite their wounds)
- resourced for healing (despite their wounds)
These images and stories to come from the Bible, from their own experience, or from the experiences of others.
And then, to help each other to consider what is, for each of them, the “next step on the road” of this calling.
an “abundance” of resources – displays, books, handouts and people prepared to answer questions. collect ideas and resources from different places - according to their need.
endless process of letting go of one’s fears
we can be frightened that cannot handle other peoples’ anger, grief, and pain
that they won’t be able to do so, and we won’t know how to help
when people resist help, prayer, church, silence, questions, it is because they do not want to open up and feel, open up and look at the feelings of anger, helplessness and grief that are swirling around inside. It is important to respect that, even if we are eager to help, even if we know we can help. People will only be healed when they want to be healed.
Nevertheless, there is a way through fear, anger and other negative feelings:
- explore them
- express them
- allow yourself to receive comfort
- compensate yourself
- reframe the experience so as to see it in a wider, longer, or higher perspective
To which might be added the possibility of:
- channelling one’s energy into action in some way
- reaching forward in forgiveness.
This “strategy for emotional healing” comes from Gael Lindenfield’s book on Self Esteem, but it is applicable to other situations too.
It can be teased out in a whole host of ways.
Structured experiences can be transformative experiences:
An art exhibition
examine the miracles of Jesus in this context. Now, they often appear to us shorn of their original setting – in the midst of teaching or exploration or argument or worship – but then they would have been happening in response to other things going on around them. As part of a larger process.
Jesus was in the midst of a crowd, he was teaching them, or talking to those around him, or engaged in conversation that would have helped those listening to explore and express their feelings. The stories he told might have enabled them to receive comfort, if they had ears to hear it, and certainly his manner of address, his way of dealing with people, would have made an impression. For his actions were not only witnessed by the disciples, but by the crowd, too.
How did people approach Jesus? Worked their way slowly, from the fringe to the centre; were found “by the wayside”; brought through by friends; called out to him; forced their way to him through the crowd.
the Gospel of abundance gives comfort, if we present it in a way that allows people to explore and examine their feelings, then express them, then receive comfort. This presupposes, it seems to me, a safe place in terms of outer structure – location, company, activity – and then an inner structure of safety in terms of the actual engagement – the method chosen for the activity. The process, the dynamics engaged. It presupposes space and time and resources for free expression and safe evaluation – non-judgemental review and reflection. It presupposes that all this is done within the context of a presentation of. And it presupposes that the process or method used continues and exemplifies that Gospel. If comfort is offered, then compensation can be arranged, too. Indeed, it can be built into the experience, or the planning for it can be built in. Together with helps towards re-framing and channelling. And an invitation to forgiveness. An invitation only, though. Forgiveness can never be forced and never demanded
The service of Holy Communion will be designed as a structured space in which various kinds of contribution can be brought to God, and various kinds of healing contact offered in non-threatening ways. Word. Anointing. The Peace. Sacrament. Laying on of Hands. All set within affirming, encouraging prayer, but ending with a gentle challenge to persevere on the road, as companions of Christ, the Wounded Healer for the world.
- A process of healing
- Begins at point of pain/accident/collapse
- Intervening to prevent a perpetuation of the offence, or prevent situation getting worse
- Stabilise them enough to be moved
- Receive them in the ER/Casualty
- Being honest about what is wrong
- Acknowledging the bruises
- Prioritising the worst wounds
- Listening with patience so as to find the hidden wound
- Hearing and receiving the difficult thing
- Exploring how we feel about it
- Admitting someone into hospital
- Making space for them, finding a bed on a ward
- Providing a safe place
- Giving pain relief
- Reducing the stress of a situation
- Providing protection to allow for longer term healing
- Strengthening their inner resolve to heal
- Help them express their feelings about their wound
- Help them find the courage to say “I am hurting”
- Provide comfort and consolation
- Provide active listening support
- Provide balm and medicine to address symptoms and treat wounds
- Provide therapeutic process for whole person
- Provide long term help to engender & sustain healing process
- Letter to the inner child
- Convalescence - time for recovery from within
- Receiving & recognising compensation, financial or otherwise
- Investing in ourselves
- “Artists are healed by their art” (Mary Stewart)
- Stepping outside the box
- Reframing our experience
- Assimilating what has happened
- Gaining perspective
- Working for justice for others
- Reaching for forgiveness
- Exploring, expression, consolation, compensation, perspective, justice, forgiveness - Based on a “Strategy for Emotional Healing” by Gael Lindenfield.