The Wounds

St.Michael’s and All Angels. Felton, Northumberland, U.K.

Contemplating the wounds of Jesus throughout the month of June has produced a variety of responses. Here are just two.

Embarrassment. The image of the classic Roman-style crucifix pops to mind. The frail and bloodied body; ribs showing, anguished face, enormous nails and a crown of thorns unbelievably large and sharp. It’s not that these images themselves are some how unorthodox, it’s that they are so clearly emphasized by the artist that it is inescapable to conclude that he wants us to focus on the wounds – and people who want us to focus on their wounds are either pitiable or an embarrassment or both. The contemporary obsession with being a victim threatens to corrupt my view of the wounds of Jesus. We award and even laud those who claim victim hood regardless of whether they really are or the origins of the wounds.

That crucifix begins to fade and then merge into the background of hysterical cries about the loss of a family pet, “micro-aggressions”or an internet insult. It risks being lost altogether amidst the imagined and often self-inflicted wounds of those who seek only their own good. Lord, help me to see those wounds as the ONLY wounds that finally matter. Help me hold on to their profound reality, to their profound selflessness and their power.

Hope. Only a fool or a madman can deny that wounds are not only universal but are somehow woven deeply into the fabric of the human experience. It is this inevitable observation that has driven philosophers, poets and peasants to contemplate eternal questions in the first place. Without wounds, no one would bother to ask and answer the “big” questions. As I have probed my own wounds and the wounds I have caused, it has only ever been the existence of the nail-wounds, the punctured lung, and the countless lacerations of the Nazarene that provide a meaningful context.

All other wounds, whether my own personal wounds, wounds visited upon the Creation or wounds I have malevolently caused, are derivative of the wounds visited upon the Son of God. The hopeless, knotted web of wounds which defines humanity can only ever be brought into focus; can only ever receive precisely the healing they require when finally understood as extensions of those wounds delivered and received on Calvary.

I have felt that healing.

I hope in the continuing work of those wounds which continue to issue their power for those who would choose stand beneath them.

May 9th, 2019

“Hmmmm.”

I’m not sure what to write. Can’t even come up with a snappy title (hence the date). But I’m committed to following through on a discipline (like blogging) whenever the motivation and the means are present…so here I am!

I’m always looking for connection, synchronicity, synergy – in a certain sense: order. Not a rigid, clinical kind. A natural, seamless kind of order that makes sense of things like the weather AND my mood simultaneously. An order that explains the state of geopolitics AND the politics going on at our local school board. I want to perceive and monitor the intermingling and interactions of all of Creation, from my own inner workings to the movement of the stars. I regularly sense the larger, cosmic machinery of the world clicking away, but at a tempo and of a scale that makes me wonder if I’m really sensing anything at all. After all, humans are amazingly proficient at pattern recognition, and historically adept at recognizing patterns that aren’t there at all.

People rush into claims of “prophecy” and “discernment” because they’ve become convinced that they are gifted. They have “vision” and they can perceive the times. Movements, nations, empires and holocausts have begun with the earnest conviction on the part of an otherwise functional human being that they see a pattern emerging, and so strive to engage with it…or resist it.

I feel the world pulling apart. Polarizing. I feel the cosmic machinery starting to rumble and grind and smoke as it begins to tear itself apart. I sense it at the smallest scale: those individuals around me. I sense it on the scale of region, and nation. I sense it globally and climatologicaly.

I see it in dying whales in Puget Sound. In dying glaciers in the Cascades. I see it in dying churches and dying families. I see it in dying people, found alone hunched over their bathtubs after 3 days; alcohol poisoning.

A hanging.

A 17 year old fentanyl overdose.

Another troubled child with nothing like a home to return to after another miserable day in the chaos of public school.

Lying and self-promotion are now lauded. The accepted response to a perceived slight is cowardly violence, verbal or otherwise. The only bigotry tolerated is for those accused of bigotry. The only intolerable: intolerance. Human life, from conception to senility, is nothing more then a construct.

It’s in the eyes and in the angst of my colleagues and friends who “feel it too”, who are struggling to find the way forward. It’s In the slack faces and dry eyes of our children, standing hopeless and unmoved. It’s in the hateful words spit from left and right. It’s in the presumption of guilt, the loss of dignity and the addiction to self.

But people have sensed all this before, and it has come to nothing…

Lord have mercy.