Recently my friend Rohadi penned an intriguing post titled 'Your Wholeness Found In Community' as part of a conversation in Cypher Church. He shares that, "2000 years ago (and similar today unfortunately), if you suffered from physical problems you were kicked out of community. That left you on the outskirts of everything including the city."
Since April of 1994, I've lived through the lens of someone who has physical problems. After a high speed car crash on the highway just east of the city on the way to Chestermere Lake, I am an incomplete quadriplegic who lives life with the challenges of wheelchair mobility. I have always been one to say that dreams and hopes are always possible despite ones physical challenges. While certain activities and adventures present real practical challenges, adaptation and innovation always overcomes all restrictions!
Don't get me wrong here, physical challenges can be very debilitating, particularly if you don't have a community around you who will help you with the realities of needing adaptation and innovation to overcome those physicality's. As a young 15 year old kid, I had no clue what potentials I had and it wouldn't be until two years later into my challenged life that I would begin to learn what was possible thanks to the people of 4D and the Spinal Cord Injury Alberta community.
But that brings me to why I am writing this response. My friend Rohadi writes as he reflects on the miracles of Jesus that, "Jesus knew that restoration of physical ailments was the first step, and that healing would restore the person BACK to second—COMMUNITY." My friend, you have this completely backwards!!
In Luke 5, several friends band together to bring their paralyzed companion to the place where many had gathered to hear this Jesus speak. As they had heard of him doing many miracles they hoped he might restore, heal, and renew their good friend. Here is the first step that Jesus took... "when he saw their faith..." Who's faith? the paralyzed man? No! Jesus was motivated by the actions of an accepting community of this man!
Does he then heal him? Again, no! He forgives the man of his sin! Why? "Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?" I tell you this as a person in a wheelchair, it is far easier for a man to get up and walk then it is for him to find acceptance and embrace into a community of unconditional love.
Jesus first and foremost is a radical for unconditional acceptance and embrace into community. Our greatest ability to presenting the reflective image of God before humanity is to first embrace all brokenness as part of our community and then secondly find action in the restoration, renewal, and healing of that brokenness.
The greatest miracle of wholeness and healing is not individualistic, it is synergistic!! The greatest miracle is found in the unconditional love and embrace of all who might find themselves on the margins of community.