The gospel offers hope and healing for those who have been violated — those who were once scared (for good reason), and who have been scarred by the hurt they have endured — have found redemption and a sanctuary in the sacred community of God’s redeemed.
If he isn’t already, Peter FitzSimmons is fast becoming Australia’s Story-Teller. In 2007 he published a well written account of one of Australia’s greatest sons, entitled, “The Ballad of Les Darcy” (2007). FitzSimmons carefully chose the term ‘ballad’ in the sense that it is “a story of one generation passed onto the next” (although usually told in poetry) to describe this remarkable young man. Les Darcy was born in 1895 near Maitland, NSW. By 1915 he was a world champion boxer. In fact, even though he was a middle-weight boxer, he defeated Australia’s heavy-weight champion at that time to also become Australia’s heavy-weight boxing champion. But all this happened just as the first world war had broken out. He wanted to put his boxing career on hold and enlist, but being under 21 his mother wouldn’t sign the papers. This led to a vicious rumour among his opponents that he had refused to enlist. Around the time of this controversy he had a bout where one of his teeth was knocked out. After winning the bout, his saved tooth was reinserted back into his mouth by a dentist. This short and rather innocuous moment was to irreversibly change his life.
Hurt people hurt people. We’ve all probably encountered a hurting person who hurt us. Perhaps we’ve even been the one doing the hurting. Being hurt hurts. Even the process to becoming healed of this hurt can hurt. And, because it is an unfamiliar hurt, even this longed for healing can create anxiety in some. This can result in the hurt person blame-shifting, withdrawing, and becoming highly critical. Because they then tend to repel others, this makes helping them really difficult. But it can be done. As Jesus demonstrated time and time again.
And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.
Some people have only ever known hurt and pain. From the youngest age they were the victim. They felt that all they ever deserved was rejection, betrayal, and mocking from those who should have most shown them acceptance, loyalty and affirmation. For these people, wholeness doesn’t exist and is not possible—until they witness it in someone else. Then they see what it can look like. This is what happen to the woman who had been haemorrhaging for twelve years. She had lost all hope. But then she began to hear the almost unbelievable stories of Jesus had done for others, and hope was rekindled. The first step toward wholeness for a broken person is a vision of what the pathway to wholeness looks like. For this broken woman it was getting close to Christ and then reaching out to Him. What she didn’t know was that Christ came near to her and invited her to be made whole.
Our theme for this year is Welcome home and there’s good reason for it. I pray regularly that God will bring into our church the hurting, the lost, the lonely, and the broken. Of all the things that these people will need it is most especially: love, care, support, understanding, acceptance, friendship, and rules. These are the things that a good home provides and they are also what our church can deliver. But it will mean that we will have to be very clear about the rules for achieving this because hurting, lost, lonely, and broken people are all too often hardened, bitter, self-pitying, and very negative people.