We’re Throwing a Healing Party–and You’re Invited!
It is impossible to separate the way we feel about ourselves from the way we feel about one another. – Wuellner
We’ve been touring Flora Slosson Wuellner’s Prayer and Our Bodies last week and this week, looking for insights to encourage our pursuit of holistic body theology. Just as body theology is about not only our own bodies but also what we do with them in the world, so Wuellner’s book encourages prayer not only with our own bodies but also with our community body. She writes, “The nurture, inclusiveness, and sensitivity which we try to bring to our own bodies is precisely the same nurture, inclusiveness, and sensitivity we are asked to bring to our community body.”
Chapter 8: The Healing and Renewal of Our Community Body
Being in community with others is hard work. As we learned through our discussion of Bonhoeffer’s ideas about community, prayer with and for one another is one of the best ways to come to love and respect each other. As Wuellner puts it, “The health of a community body depends so utterly on its tenderness and its honor toward all its members.”
A spiritual life, and a body theology, experienced entirely as an individual is deficient. We are not living out our participation in the incarnation of Christ if we are not participating in community:
It is in community that our true faith is revealed and tested. Just as our spirituality must be experienced in our personal bodies, so must it also be experienced in our community bodies. If our spirituality has become merely an individualistic exercise–if our whole self (body, emotions, spirit) is not part of our community context–we have missed the meaning of the incarnational life.
Wuellner acknowledges that it’s easy to overlook the difficult members of our community–the homeless, the disabled, the emotionally dependent: “How often is our politeness merely a way of distancing ourselves from honest encounter? If we learn honesty within our own bodies and hearts, can we at last begin to learn it with one another?”
She describes healthy community as having “not only nurture for its members but also openness towards new members, new ideas, new ways of living. A healthy family is not a closed circle; it reaches beyond itself in interest and concern or its spirit will die.” We cannot be exclusive and be a truly healthy community where “all are equally heard, valued, and nurtured.”
How often are we divided over issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation? How often do we hold grudges against past offenders, despise those who have wounded us (either individually or communally), and refused to be reconciled? Is this what it means to be the body of Christ?
What would it look like if we threw a healing party? Everyone in our community could come with their individual gifts and strengths, and we could celebrate being the body of Christ together. Then, before we leave the “party,” we could pray together for our community to be healed and become whole. Is there any better party favor than healthy community?
We can achieve healthy community, Wuellner suggests, through communal prayer:
Let us in our churches, prayer groups, and personal prayers begin with boldness to explore in depth these new frontiers of prayer for the radical healing of our family bodies, our church bodies, our racial, national, professional bodies.
If you and your community are ready to experience healing and wholeness as the body of Christ, I encourage you to throw a healing party. Begin to pray–individually and communally–for God’s healing to come. Wuellner offers this guidance as we enter into communal prayer:
- God is the healer. We are to be the transmitters, not the generators, of the healing light and energy.
- Face our true feelings about the person or the group or the situation. The feeling itself will never be a block to God’s work of healing if it is faced. We admit what we feel to God and let God do the loving.
- Our prayer is not meant to be either diagnostic or prescriptive. There will be changes, but they are not always what we expected, and they do not always come at the time we expect.
Posted on February 22, 2012, in Body of CHRIST, Community, Equality, Identity, Incarnation of Christ, Spirituality and tagged body of Christ, Christ, Community, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God, Health, Incarnation, Prayer. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.