Today I am tired. Weary. My God I need your Balm.
And these are the verses He offered my creased brow –
“Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” Luke 9:22-25
And then He said –
“Okay, Paul. Ignore the first bit. That was me talking to the chaps. That was me trying to have them realise the end was not the end. Don’t get all soppy on me and think somehow it applies to you. And please don’t have your phantom crucifixion every year! Enough!
So to your cross? Your burden? Where is my balm in these words? (it was at this point He asked me to un-capitalise His words when He is speaking!) Consider that cross: my body nailed to that wood. My body. My desires. My ambition. My plans. My relationships. My pride. My sloth. My fear. And in case you missed that – I mean my stuff – unless you still believe I wasn’t actually the same as you – that I was the better you.
I had crap. I was you. And you are me.
My balm to you is your body. That weary, tired, grumpy, slothful, irritated, loving, keeping on going, get through another day, remembering that right now is not for ever, being aware as we talk that right now can be better, can be less you and more me, is becoming less you and more us, is growing a peace beyond understanding, is healing that pain of tiredness, is allowing light, a healing light, a nourishing light, a connection stronger, a connection feeling again for others, a connection once again connecting with others, a connection allowing others to be who they are – tired, weary, hurting, introspective, alone, disconnected – in this moment – of others.
My balm for you is your balm for others. And all we have done is talk. All we have done is soothed. All we have done is connect. On our cross. The cross that is our balm.
How you feeling now young man?”
Well dear Father, GSHJ, Lord, Omnipotence … pretty good! Thank you!
“Please don’t mistake the pretty pictures of gore and blood, of pain and exhaustion, of human flesh hurt – the blood spatters, the thorns, the nails – all “that” as the focus. What we have just done here is feel our cross together. How it is a balm of healing if you allow – if you can get past the graphics – the special effects – the phantom crucifixion you feel you must each year.
This moment of balm is the cross.
This balm is available any time you desire.
You are not dead you are healed.
You are not hurt you are restored.
This cross is a celebration.
Just as your body and mind were healed this very morning –
That is your cross.
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
You can be healed every day!
This balm can be yours every day!
What’s to bitch about?”
I was at a meeting about Lent last night. Worship Leading planning. The Sunday morning stuff. It’s all about qualifications really. Who can preach and who cannot. Who is the qualified Hatter Matter and who is just a Chatter Matter. And being a Chatter Matter means a five-minute something each Sunday. The Hatter Matter does the teaching and preaching. And us Chatter Matters wanted to find a symbol, a theme, a something … for the allotted five minutes at the beginning of the service – to remind the Gathered Matters that it is Lent and “the cross” is approaching – and all that traditional stuff the “Sunday morning stuff” does each year.
This morning GSHJ allowed me to understand my disquiet with that approach.
This cross is my body and his body – and our cross is our balm (if we allow).
Today I am healed. Because today I lifted up my cross and was healed.