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Voices: Do We Want to be Healed?

By Erika Haub

I brought my children to a prayer vigil at Quest Church in Seattle organized and led by one of Quest’s pastors, Gail Song Bantum. The sanctuary was dark, quiet worship music played in the background, candles lit the cross that sat at the center of the stage. Two large screens offered scripture, art, and words to guide us as we were invited into a space to pray and mourn and lament together. Women near me cried. I watched as a young boy, the same age as one of my own, wiped tears from his mother’s cheek as they fell.

At one point during the gathering, another of Quest’s pastors, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil placed her body on the steps leading to the cross. She lay there a while, and when she rose she took the mic and shared a few words with us that she had received from the Lord. She spoke of her need for the cross: for the gift of faith Jesus gives to hope for that which is yet unseen.

"The Pool" by Giacomo Palma il Giovane
“The Pool” by Giacomo Palma il Giovane

“Do you want to be healed?” Jesus once asked a man. Offensive question, perhaps? Kicking a lame man while he’s down. But maybe that is always the question. Do we want to be healed. Healed of a love of self that costs other people their lives. Healed of fear that seduces and summons us to huddle quiet when speaking out might cost us something. Healed of our Lazarus living that turns a blind eye and passes with clenched fists. Healed of blindness that protects and serves us.

C.S. Lewis says we settle far too easily-our desires are too weak. We squeal with delight over mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine a royal holiday at the sea. We find the pearl but we don’t buy the land. We are far too easily pleased.

Do we want to be healed? If it means our healing is wrapped up in another’s? If our healing requires that we sit at our enemy’s table? If our healing asks us to shed even one possession? If our healing means letting another lead?

Jesus says that he has come that we might have life-life to the full. We do not, can not, will not have or receive or offer this life as long as we remain silent or complacent while Black brothers and sisters die. Life to the full is not exclusive to who looks like you, prays like you, eats like you, speaks like you. Life to the full requires a body and a spirit that work as one. Life to the full requires that all who are made in God’s image see and find and love each other. Do we want to be healed?

Are we desperate? Will we cross lines, leave our homes, follow after Jesus, and risk safety and reputation to find him? Do we believe that we need to? Or do we confuse our robes for his…

A woman chased after Jesus. Bloody, fatigued, ashamed, excluded, she knew if she could only reach the King…if she could grab his hem, brush her fingers across the fringe of his power, she believed that she would be healed. Her desperation drove her restoration. We’ll never know what she risked to reach him.

Are we desperate? Will we cross lines, leave our homes, follow after Jesus, and risk safety and reputation to find him? Do we believe that we need to? Or do we confuse our robes for his…

We have built slave ships and prisons with the planks in our eyes. We have too often welcomed the Father of lies to our table and gorged on the bread he offers. We have too quickly turned from a Savior acquainted with suffering, and scrambled after men on thrones. How many more times than three have we denied a Jesus who knows something about public execution- about unjust trials and false evidence. A Jesus who knows the pain and stench of a bloody death; who has heard a mother wail over the bleeding body of her son.

Do we want to be healed? That is the question, always the question. Will we rend and weep and stand with Jesus or will we stay satisfied with garden sleep?

Do we not  ask God in worship: break our hearts for what breaks yours. Why then do we exit the building and march in file away from inconvenience, interruption, or any hint of our own displacement? Why do we march away from Jesus? Why would we ever choose rattling bones over sinew and flesh!

Jesus is still asking: do we want to be healed?

topics: church and race,


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