Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Society of the Walking Wounded

Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not "How can we hide our wounds?" so we don't have to be embarrassed, but "How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?" When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.

Jesus is God's wounded healer: through his wounds we are healed. Jesus' suffering and death brought joy and life. His humiliation brought glory; his rejection brought a community of love. As followers of Jesus we can also allow our wounds to bring healing to others.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

The Society of the Walking Wounded was a progressive rock band I played in many years ago, but the name seems now to have been prescient in an odd way. As Nouwen suggests here, it's only as walking wounded that we can actually minister Jesus' healing to those who suffer.

I think this fact is often forgotten by many in the Church generally, leaders as well as laypeople. We feel we have to be happy shiny well-adjusted people all the time, our clean and ironed clothes hiding no scars, and it just isn't so. People like that, to the extent that they do truly exist outside of hypocrisy, can't help those who are hurt. Their toothpaste grins feel like a rebuke, their clear eyes and perfect skin are a judgement on the ones whose lives have come apart, who are broken by illness, crippled by debt, shaken to their centres by divorce or addiction.

Not only are our wounds a source of healing, but our very shame, the shadow that has passed across our own lives, is a door opening onto the mercy of Christ. If we accept this, open-heartedly, then we can stop worrying, stop peering in cars' wing-mirrors and the windows of other people's eyes to see if our spiritual ties are straight, and "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)


  1. Yes, a newsletter in common and much more besides. God Bless you brother.

  2. Thank you, Andy, and amen!