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Embracing Woundedness: A Journey of Faith and Healing

Discovering Strength in Vulnerability and Healing in Woundedness

Rev. Anne Abdy

Embracing Woundedness: A Journey of Faith and Healing

Dear friends in Christ,

This past Monday and Tuesday I attended the Commission on Ministry retreat at Trinity Center/Camp. This retreat is an intensive day and a half of discerning with the aspirants of the diocese who wish to pursuea path to ordination. It is a time of great vulnerability and trust in the process. I found myself reflecting on my own ordination process over 10 years ago that trust in the process has now allowed me to become the priest you see before you today.

One of the questions that I asked each participant was: “There are many characters in the Old and New Testament. Who best represents you and why? Who do you align with?” The answered was as varied as each person sitting in the chair in front of the interview panel. All the participants answered the question differently. What was most notable was that each answer came after a thoughtful pause resulting in a soulful answer. The answer also highlighted the spiritual growth of that person.

We read from the Gospel of John that “Jesus wept” (verse 35) at the sight of seeing Mary weeping at the loss of her brother, Lazarus. In the felt knowledge of pain, Jesus weeps. The aspirants attending the overnight, felt vulnerable. We have all felt vulnerable. The word vulnerable is derived from the Latin noun vulnus ("wound"). It further evolved to the Latin verb vulnerare, meaning "to wound," and then to the Late Latin adjective vulnerabilis, which became "vulnerable" in English in the early 1600s.

Henri Nowen, a professor at Yale Divinity School and prolific author, said this about woundedness:

“Nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not 'How can we hide our wounds?' so we don't have to be embarrassed, but 'How can we put our roundedness in the service of others?' When our wounds cease to be a source of shame and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.”

Woundedness does not have to define us, however, every Christian needs to soul search how God wants us to use our woundedness to help others. Woundedness does not need to define us, rather it can be and is an evangelical tool because we are in relationship with our brothers and sisters of this wounded world. It is in the sitting with, listening with and being with others on their journeys of faith and wholeness that woundedness does God’s work.



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