October 22: Community of the Cross
The healing power of the Cross remains a mere idea unless we discover that Cross in community. That means finding safe places in our local churches where we can be known in our dirty ‘divides. ’ These are the facets of our lives where we need to be saved. Yes, we may well be earnest Christians in our beliefs and spiritual practices. Our very commitment to Jesus compels us to come boldly to His throne.
We contend together: ‘Jesus, restore what is broken! Cleanse what resists You! Let me know the fruit of Your suffering in mine!’
For 18 months, several of us prayed that such a group for sexual healing might begin at our local parish. God encouraged us as we waited. While standing in line to partake of the Eucharist–the fruit of the Cross—I looked behind me and saw our intercessors. One was a man abused by a priest, another was a woman facing the challenge of a gay-identified loved one; further down was a man admitting to porn addiction, near him a woman seeking to overcome same-sex attraction.
In a way that complements the nearness of God in the elements, I experienced the nearness of God in His broken body. Somehow the faces of our ‘Gideon’s army’ made real the Cross: we gather in brokenness before the One who makes all things new. It released hope to me. As we partake of the Eucharistic mystery together, might we also share our sufferings together? Are we not members of His body, broken for one another? God envisioned me that morning of how He wanted to penetrate our sufferings with His own. As we humble ourselves before one another, will He not be faithful to meet us in mercy, and to raise us up, with healing in His wings (Mal. 4:2)?
My pastors agreed that we needed a Living Waters group at our parish. As soon as they said ‘yes’, the Holy Spirit began to gather people. I can now see that it was simply Jesus fulfilling His words to St. Peter when He promised that hell would not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18). Put another way: heaven will invade earth through Christians who, following the Crucified, humble themselves before one another. Together we experience the stirrings of new life. The community of the Cross—the Church—is the birthplace of the new creation.
‘Jesus ‘gave up His Spirit’ (Jn 19:30), which means He drew His last breath and died, but also that He gave forth His Spirit, the Holy Spirit! The last breath of the Jesus became the first breath of the Church! Redemption means not just the remission of sins but also the gift of new life in the Spirit.’ R.Cantalamessa
Join us as we pray for:
1. Midwest Region, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Laura Leigh Stanlake – Coordinator: Strength and vision for Laura, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
2. Core Issues Trust (www.core-issues.org) United Kingdom, Michael Davidman: For continued momentum to ensure good ongoing pastoral care for persons with same-sex attraction in the UK.
3. Denver Diocese: Discernment for timing and team of new Living Waters group.
“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”