Sometimes it Hurts


“Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” - Mark 7:31-37

When Jesus showed up, I think it’s interesting that he took this deaf man away from the crowd. He removes him from that system. He sticks his fingers in his ears and spits and touches his tongue and looks to heaven and the text says, he sighs. He looks to heaven and sighs. And the thing is, Jesus didn’t then rebuke the man or his deafness. He didn’t say, I cast out the demon of deafness. He just touches him, looks to heaven, sighs and says “BE OPEN."
It’s a wonderful statement for healing isn’t it? Be open.

It’s an image that’s stuck with me all week.  This might sound weird but all week I kept picturing Jesus sticking his fingers in each of your ears and saying “BE OPENED."  And then in the same daydream, before I could stop it, I pictured Jesus’ Holy and unwashed fingers in my own ears. He sighed he looked to heaven and he said, "Be opened."  To which I said, “No thanks."
See, It hurts sometimes to be opened.  There’s no control in it. No self-determination. But Jesus is like that, taking us away from whatever the world thinks about us, getting all up in our business and insisting on our healing wholeness.

Be opened, he says.
Be opened to a life where you aren’t the broken one anymore.
Be opened to the possibility that there is healing in the world and it might not look like you think it should.
Be opened to knowing that your own brokenness doesn’t need to be hidden behind someone else’s brokenness.
Be opened to the idea that you are stronger than you think.
Be opened to the idea that you aren’t as strong as you think.
Be opened to the fact that you may not ever get what you want and that you will actually be OK anyway.
Be opened to finally being happy.
Be opened to your own need for healing especially if you yourself are a healer.
Be opened to life and life abundant.
Maybe that’s what healing really is.

We think it’s about identifying what’s wrong with someone else or with ourselves and then having that thing cured, but I wonder if spiritual healing has more to do with being opened than being cured.

Be opened. But it’s not easy. Healing can hurt.  It can feel like a loss as much as it can feel like a gain. Sometimes healing feels more like death and resurrection than getting a warm cookie and glass of milk.

Maybe you are someone who has for so long been the one who suffers depression or illness or dysfunction that you are simply more comfortable that way, because frankly, when you stay sick no one expects much from you. And sometimes that’s easier.

Maybe you are someone who deals so much with the brokenness and sickness of others in your work that you forget that you are in need of healing too. Maybe you are someone who has experienced healing of hospitality here in this community and you have yet to be healed through offer the same thing to others. Maybe you, like me, would rather not admit to needing anything form anyone. Including Jesus.

And to all of this I picture Jesus sticking his fingers in our ears, looking to heaven, sighing and saying “be opened." Be opened because there is more. In the kingdom of God the kingdom inaugurated by the crucified and risen one, there is more — which is exactly why after these healings Jesus told people not to go and blab about them. He knew that without knowing the end of the story, without the cross, they’d just get it wrong. Because when Jesus hung from the cross, he did so as the ultimate innocent victim, the world’s scapegoat as though to say This. Ends. Here.  

The healing love of God poured out through the death and resurrection of Christ which opens us up, sometimes even against our will, is for you and it’s for me and it’s for the redemption of all creation.

In a letter to a friend who was struggling with faith, Flannery O’Connor wrote, "What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross.  It is much harder to believe than not to believe."  

If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and just leave the rest to God.

Lord, please help me to release my hurts, to forgive those who have hurt me that You may heal my wounded heart. Amen.
Oct 28 2018