Provoking Life, Part 1
‘The blind receive sight, the lame walk, lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed are those who take no offense in Me.’ (Luke 7:23)
A scene from Charlie Chaplin’s classic film ‘Limelight’ highlights the power of Christ’s Resurrection to heal the wound at the core of our brokenness. A young dancer claims to have a chronic physical condition that has crippled her. As she recounts a string of sorrows, her older mentor is seized with insight from on high; he realizes that her condition isn’t physical at all but deeply emotional.
Lodged in her legs, unhealed pain has rendered the dancer passive and captive to trauma. Her mentor (Chaplin) invokes the creative power of Life itself as the antidote to her condition. Unbeknownst to himself, Chaplin summons the healing power of Christ Resurrected, and offers to help her dance once more.
Immediately, I recalled my first experience of reading Leanne Payne’s classic book ‘The Broken Image.’ (Baker, 1981: READ THIS BOOK!) She eloquently reveals the wounds and deprivations at the core of the homosexual condition; she then exemplifies how we can learn to pray in accord with the Spirit of Resurrection and help men and women receive the healing they really need. Her humble intelligence, combined with an awe of unseen holy Reality, awakened my soul 32 years ago when I first read ‘The Broken Image.’
Her words rouse me with each fresh read. As I stand with persons facing same-sex attraction who know before God that their true selves are not ‘homosexual,’ I am reminded: ‘Go deeper than what is obvious! Invoke the power of Jesus who lives to raise these ones from the dead. Listen for the healing Word; hear their suffering and discover its source as you wait on Me. Unite these ones with My healing heart. I who hold all things together (Col. 1: 17) will reconcile what is fractured, comfort what aches, excise what is false, and raise up the real substantial self that is splendid and holy, not homosexual in the least.’
Leanne Payne applies the power of the Resurrection at the level we need it: real Life to encounter our real wounding and struggle, and real Truth to interpret correctly what is going on in our troubled souls. We live in a superficial, idolatrous age that prides itself on being ‘gay-affirming.’ How cruel and small-minded to limit the soul to the wound and its misinterpretation. How magnificent of Jesus and His servants to restore the wounded so we like Chaplin’s protégé can resume the dance.
‘What stupid people Christians often are! Most Christians have nothing worse saying because they have nothing to show. The new life that Christ came to bring never quite reaches into earthly things, never overcomes the world.
We must make a completely new beginning. We need to begin completely anew again, more deeply, more thoroughly, more fully. For if we really reach a point where we are united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. Then we will enter into a completely new life. What a tremendous thing it is to meet the Resurrection!’
Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt