Imagine Jesus as a financial advisor, or maybe even as a political advisor to presidents and prime ministers…

“Okay, here’s my plan (endorsed by God): I’ve come to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim a ‘year of God’s favour’ – a Jubilee where all debts are forgiven.” (Luke 4:18-19) #JesusEconomics

“You who are poor, you who are hungry, *you* are the ones blessed by God. God’s political agenda favours *you*. The wealthy? You’re on the wrong side of history. Nothing but woe for you.” (Luke 6:20-21, 24-25) #JesusEconomics

“Give to everyone who begs from you. Yes, everyone. If someone in need steals something from you, let them keep it.” (Luke 6:30-31) #JesusEconomics

“Don’t lend only to those who can repay you. Lend, expecting nothing in return. Yes, nothing.” (Luke 6:34-36) #JesusEconomics

“If you simply want to preserve your life you’re going to lose it. There’s no profit in gaining the whole world if you lose your soul in the process!” (Luke 9:23-25) #JesusEconomics

“It’s true: a labourer deserves a fair wage. So share peaceful hospitality and enjoy food and drink together. Oh, and heal the sick among you, freely. This is God’s political agenda.” (Luke 10:5-9) #JesusEconomics

“That ‘heal the sick freely’ thing? I meant it. Even when it’s a foreigner, an enemy, someone you despise. They are your neighbour, and loving our neighbour is right up there with loving God.” (Luke 10:25-37) #JesusEconomics

“We need to yearn for God’s political agenda to be implemented. This means ‘daily bread’ for all of us. This means forgiving debts others owe us. Amen.” (Luke 11:2-4) #JesusEconomics

“We need to guard ourselves against every form of greed, always wanting more and bigger and better. True life is not about possessing things.” (Luke 12:15-21) #JesusEconomics

“We need to strive for God’s political agenda, and all our basic needs will be met.” (Luke 12:22-31) #JesusEconomics

“Sell your possessions before they possess you. Give to the poor and needy. Make these your treasure, for these are what is treasured by God.” (Luke 12:33-34) #JesusEconomics

“Don’t throw a party – or a state dinner – for those who can repay you. Lay out a feast for those who *can’t* repay you, especially those society most ignores – after all, they’re the ones who most need it.” (Luke 14:12-14) #JesusEconomics

“If you’re going to do a project you make sure you’ve got enough to pay for it. You might think this means you should save up every penny for yourself. Nope! It means you need to give up the whole idea of possessing anything yourself.” (Luke 14:25-33) #JesusEconomics

“Just to be clear: wealth is a god who will enslave you. Instead, become slaves of God who gives you freedom. Make your choice: you cannot serve both God and money. You cannot serve both God and The Economy.” (Luke 16:13) #JesusEconomics

“Here’s a story: Rich man ignores poor man right next door. Rich man dies. Poor man dies. Poor man goes to heaven. Rich man goes to hell. He should have listened to Moses and the prophets!” (Luke 16:19-31) #JesusEconomics

“If the wealthy refuse to distribute their wealth equitably, they’re not participating in God’s political agenda. They’re not ‘saved,’ no matter what they say. But God can work miracles!” (Luke 18:18-27) #JesusEconomics

“Here’s a better story: Rich man got rich by robbing from the poor. Rich man repents, gives half his wealth to the poor and pays back four times what he defrauded others. This is a billionaire who got ‘saved’!” (Luke 19:1-10) #JesusEconomics

“Yes, pay your taxes. Give to human rulers what they think they need: it’s only money. But make sure you give to God what belongs to God: ‘The earth is God’s and everything in it.'” (Luke 20:21-25) #JesusEconomics

“A poor woman who gives her entire widow’s pension for a good cause has given more than a multi-billionaire donating a hundred million dollars for a university with his name on it.” (Luke 21:1-4) #JesusEconomics

The Gospel of the Lord. #TheGospelAccordingToLuke #JesusEconomics


Meditations on a Healing Foot

Three months ago I broke my foot. I’ve been hobbling around on crutches or limping around with a walking cast for thirteen weeks.

Three-plus months, thirteen weeks, and this is the picture that met me when I sat in the doctor’s office the other day.

I know, I thought the same thing.

“Um,” I ventured, “that jagged zig-zaggy bit there…is it supposed to be like that?”

Sure, I was told, it’s “not ideal.” It is, however, “sufficiently aligned.” And “fusing nicely.”

Good enough to ditch the walking cast and start doing some weight-bearing physiotherapy.

I know, I thought the same thing.

“Really?” I said to the doctor. “You’re sure about that?”

“Yes,” he reassured me with a smile, “this is what healing looks like.”

This is what healing looks like.

Almost everyone I know doubts this. I’ve showed the picture to several people. Heard from a few with medical connections. I hear back a collective, “Hmm…”

Yet I have to trust the doctor. He’s an orthopedic surgeon. This is his life, broken bones and such things, especially in the foot. Yes, it’s not ideal, but it’s “within acceptable range.” And it doesn’t actually feel too bad. Some stiffness and soreness, a little tenderness and still some swelling. All normal. My motion is ahead of where one might expect, my physiotherapist says.

This is what healing looks like.

Healing looks like unexpected zig-zags and jagged edges. Slow-forming calluses and even slower fusion. Soreness, stiffness, tenderness, swelling. Not necessarily ideal, but sufficient. “Acceptable.”

This is what healing looks like.

Healing looks like oozing sores and crusty scabs.  Scars forming, and remaining. Twinges every time you step in that particular way, or always at that time of year when the temperature drops.

This is what healing looks like.

Healing looks like chemotherapy and radiation. Losing one’s hair, growing back fuzz. Trips, endless trips, to the doctor, the specialist, the occupational therapist, the physiotherapist. And pills! Endless pills, sorted by shape and size and colour and time taken.

This is what healing looks like.

Healing looks like therapy sessions with the psychologist. A short stint in the mental health facility. Being admitted to the psych ward. Taking medication faithfully, doctor’s orders, even when you’re sure you could now go without it.

This is what healing looks like.

Healing looks messy. It’s painfully slow. And it’s not always the outcome we want, the “ideal.”

Sure, there are times when healing looks like the instant fix. The man leaping up and carrying his mat. The woman knowing immediately her bleeding had stopped. These are remarkable because they are so exceptional.

For there are many times when healing looks reluctant, even shameful. Seven dips in a muddy foreign river. Needing a second crack at healing blindness, or a gooey paste of spit and mud to do the trick.

And there are times, all too many times, when healing just doesn’t happen the way we want. Leaving a dear friend sick, even when you’ve got a reputation as a healer. Crying out to the Lord again and again and yet again to be healed, only to be answered with “My grace is sufficient for you in your weakness.”

There’s that word again: “sufficient.” What we really need, not necessarily what we think we need, or what we really want. Like “daily bread”: just what we most need, just when we most need it.

And what we most need is “grace”: unmerited favour from God, and from others. Grace to be who we are, in sickness and in health. Grace to face each day, one day at a time. Grace to experience flashes of joy and the deep ache of hope. Grace to grieve. Grace to be among those we love, and who love us. All this grace, even in our weakness. Especially in our weakness.

This is what healing looks like.

This is what healing looks like.

This, too, is what healing looks like.

Image: Mironov, “Christ Healing the Blind Man.” Cross-posted from http://www.mordenmennonitechurch.wordpress.com. © Michael W. Pahl.