As Bem and I considered how we might communicate what our physical bodies have to teach us about healing wounds within community, we were reminded of the parables told by Jesus. He used imagery from his everyday life as he shared his messages of hope and healing. Wheat, chaff, lost coins, lost sheep, wells, and wedding feasts were all subjects of his stories. They were familiar, but new twists gave meaning to issues like the kingdom of God and the patience of grace. The apostle Paul also used metaphors, comparing the life of faith to a race and the church to the human body. Despite the repeated use of body imagery and creation stories in the Bible. I’ve rarely heard a science-filled message in a local church. Perhaps many Christians haven’t thought of scientific and spiritual understandings as being interrelated. Frequently, people think of science as difficult, or as a topic for a select few. Yet as Bem and I have considered how healing occurs in our human bodies and our broader relationships, we have noticed several parallels.
First, healing is a dynamic process that requires many changes. When the human body is wounded, everything from the blood vessels to the skin must go through a transformation. Likewise, healing within community requires an openness to change, to challenge, to revision, and to expansion. Ultimately, it may even change our ideas about suffering and hope as we work through the slow and painful process of acknowledging an injury and accepting change before being transformed into a newly functional body.
Second, physical healing happens only within cellular community, and emotional or spiritual healing also happens best in community. Finally, healing requires great perseverance. It always takes longer than we wish. We have to journey through several stages…and each one serves a purpose to ensure that real healing and restoration are achieved. Getting stuck in one phase or skipping a step in the process only results in more disability.
From “Designed to Heal: What the Body Shows Us About Healing Wounds, Repairing Relationships, and Restoring Community” by Jennie A. McLaurin and Cymbeline Tancongco Culiat