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This morning we are participants of the new creation! The old has passed away and Christ has made all things new!
On Good Friday I realized that I could not ignore the pain in my leg any longer. If you were here on our Maundy Thursday service you probably noticed me limping quite noticeably. My knee was swollen and painful to the touch, it was beginning to give me quite a burning sensation. After returning Friday evening from the church I realize that my knee is perhaps in more pain than I have ever felt in my life. So, I determine that I will go to the 24 urgent care clinic to have someone look at it.
2 hours later the doctor told me that they were contacting the emergency doctor at and that I should go straight to the hospital. By this point I could no longer bend my knee and it was very swollen. The initial diagnosis was that it could be a serious condition called septic arthritis. From what I understand in this condition bacteria attacks an individual’s joints, and dissolving them. I was shaken as I painfully drove to the emergency entrance to Virginia Medical Center.
A good friend met me in the waiting room and I called Carol a few blocks away watching my daughter’s sleepover. By that time I had a chance to read the terrible possibilities that could befall my joint and I was nervous, no scared. This nasty bacterium eats away at joints and tissue, needing immediate treatment by intravenous drip and surgery to scrape the bacteria completely out of the joint.
I will spare you the details of the procedures I had in the emergency room, but just note I hope to never go through them again. 8 1/2 hours later I was told that I was free to go and that I was far too young to have the type of arthritis the tests had shown me to have. My further tests would be completed on Monday and I would have a full understanding of the type of arthritis that I would be dealing with in the future.
During my time there I decided to take advantage of the alone time to reflect on today’s message that I had been working on for two weeks. Ahh silence, I will think and then get some sleep. The only problem was that the ER was a bustling place where the lights are never turned off. So, I prayed. After a few times through the Lord’s prayer began to pray for the situation and ironically found myself praying that I had an alternative ailment. The only other options were straight arthritis and gout. So, I began to pray that this was gout, a prayer that I would have never imagined I would pray.
That is when I started to see and hear the things surrounding me. There was the nurse ending her shift at 3 a.m. to drive home wearily to Rockville, there was the tattooed woman being wheeled into x-rays, there was the young doctor who seemed a bit unsure of himself, over there was a women on crutches making nasty comments to the orderly, in another room I heard the sound of a woman’s constant moaning and on a gurney was a drunk man whose head had been split open by a bouncer. A police officer and family members waited nearby to take him to the rehabilitation center.
Being ill and surrounded by other people with a variety of ailments on Good Friday filled me with intense gratitude. I was comforted by the helpful staff who cared about my well being. The striving toward health and wholeness have always been at central to the idea of salvation in the church. Isn’t resurrection but the restoration of what was dead into health? It reminds me of the famous saying from the 4th century theologian Augustine. The church is not a society for the morally perfected, but a hospital ward for sinners.
It is truly Easter and as I hobble around here my knee is not completely fixed, from what I understand it may be a condition that I have to deal with the rest of my life, but it is better. As I limped out of the ER I could tell that one of my fellow Good Friday sojourners would not be so fortunate. That is where we find ourselves again on Easter, hope. Like Mary we are in the garden, looking to prepare the body of our stale faith and life. Amongst the tombstones we are confronted with glorious resurrection. Life is made new out of death. We are people of a promise. That promise is that we will be a part of resurrection. The promise that coming together in this place we might hope to bury all of our problems, but find abundant life.
I am filled with gratitude and hope preaching resurrection like one of the greatest preachers of all time, Mary. Even though others may not have believed her, she had experienced resurrection. Once you experience life where there was death you cannot keep it to yourself. It is my hope that you will experience the miraculous healing power of resurrection this season and spread its touch around your world.
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