Wound Agape (reprise)

Father David asked if I would read the lesson at Holden Evening Prayer this past Wednesday. I quickly shook my head and said “No!” In mock annoyance he asked “Why not?” and I mumbled something about recovering from bronchitis. That excuse, of course was only that….an excuse. I used to be a good speaker. I was able to effectively deliver a sermon weekly for months when I was interim lay leader following the retirement of our Pastor. As a lector, I was able to give meaning to the readings through inflection and clear speech.

Then Steve (my son) died, and I could no longer read the lessons. I remember on one particular Sunday, I started the lesson which was from Genesis 22-Abraham’s planned sacrifice of his only son. In the middle of the lesson I started sobbing….fortunately DH, acting as acolyte that day, was seated behind me and quickly took over the reading. There have been numerous similar occurances. The plague of death to the firstborn, “My God, why have you forsaken me,” “You make all things possible….take this cup from me” and similar readings would trigger my collapse. I eventually stopped volunteering as lector, not wishing to make the congregation suffer through my loss of emotional control.

One morning while reading my ever-present murder mystery, a phrase literally leaped off the (Nook) e-page and slapped me between the eyes. The book, “The Mapping of Love and Death” by Jacqueline Winspear has as its heroine Maisy Dobbs, a psychologist and investigator. She was a nurse in WWI, and part of the background of each novel is her healing from both physical and psychic wounds suffered in that conflict. Her mentor – both professionally and personally – tells her during one passage:”Wound agape is when we find healing in the blood of the wound itself.”

I am a physician. I daily see gaping wounds (wounds agape, if you will…..). Some wounds require debridement: cutting and scraping away the dead tissue, which allows new blood flow to bring healing and closure.

I am a Christian. I am feeling my gaping soul (soul agape, if you will…..). This wound, too, requires cutting and scraping away to allow healing.

And of course, the word Agape, in Christian theology, pertains to that love with which Christ loved (loves) us: a selfless, self sacrificing love. A love so strong that he was willing to let his wound gape, and his blood flow to save us.

I am not yet healed, and I am still wandering through the desert……but I know that my gaping wound will eventually heal with His wound apape…..and I look forward to the day when I can smile and say “sure I’ll read the lesson” to Father David….