Just another Sunday morning at church.
People pulling into the parking lot in Saturday-washed cars. Little folks climbing out, skipping, hopping into the sanctuary, hair neatly-combed and faces scrubbed. Smiles, hand-shakes, eyes shining with glad-to-see-you welcome. Presence of Jesus arriving within His children. Ushers encouraging. Gentle rustle of bags and purses stowed beneath seats. Babies perkily sitting on laps. Holy hush. Hymns of faith. Words of devotional encouragement. Offerings prompted by giving hearts.
One by one, two by two, my church sisters moving toward their classroom—sweet, modestly-clothed ladies of faith. Clean, well-cared-for, put together.
Then—as if white chalk gleamed under black light—I saw. Oozing, blood-stained bandages over every heart.
Wounds. Raw, festering, draining strength and energy.
Abuse, rejection, abandonment, loss, life-killing words, disillusionment, doubt, loneliness, fear, discouragement, extreme weariness — hurts collected from living on earth.
Shocked, I looked up at my Shepherd and saw that He already knew. Beams of tenderness filtered through the sunshine of His gaze.
Feed my sheep, He said.
Lord, what can I say that will truly help?
Proclaim the good news about Me to these poor:
I heal the wounds of the brokenhearted … tell captives, “You are free!” … release prisoners from their darkness … comfort all who are in sorrow … strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion … give them a beautiful bouquet in place of ashes … anoint them with oil of joy instead of tears … clothe them in a mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness … plant them as trees of righteousness, a living display of My glory … take away their shame and dishonor … bestow a double portion of inheritance … rejoicing … endless joy!*
Tell them what I’ve done and am doing for your wounds.
Show them how very much I care and want to heal theirs too.
*taken from Isaiah 61
– written by a friend in recovery