Fearless Faith

Walking wounded


April 20, 2022

Recently, I caught a portion of a 1950’s era war movie in which patriotic stereotypes ran true throughout. The leading men were impossibly handsome, unimpeachable leaders of lesser known though respectful soldiers who, by the end of the film, had been molded into inspiring heroes. The women were courageous and beautiful, stoically supporting the work of the nation on the domestic front as well as in factories. The authority of both government and military branches to act in our best interest was supreme, something which was never questioned. Several common themes from this and other feel-good-all-is-right movies emerge; democracy prevails, evil is vanquished, and a new day dawns bright with promise on a land favored by God.

Similarly, when battle scenes were depicted, lesser known actors did their best to die valiantly, rarely allowing the gruesome aspects of death to intrude on the audience experience. We lightly and casually grieved the characters who gave their all, a sanitized and all together unrealistic view of violence up close. We quietly cheered the larger-than-life heros of the moment as they risked life and limb to evacuate a wounded buddy when others had given up.

In film depicitons of battle in which honor was such a key component of the storytelling, it was sacrilege,as it is today, to abandon the wounded. We can’t imagine feeling good about an outcome that did not provide for the care of those unable to remove themselves from harm’s way, or who were incapable of self-protection.

Why is it that a black and white 50’s movie can inspire such determined patriotic and Godly fervor while today’s churches frequently encounter the walking wounded on a daily basis and fail entirely to respond? The aggrieved are all about us, yes, even in our congregations. We pretend not to see them, or hear them, or even to allow them to discover the safety that would grant them permission to share their pain, a critical step towards healing.

Abuse and violence are unspoken realities of life which too seldom see the light of day. We excuse away their presence with vagueness and unwillingness to get involved. Our inattention to the walking wounded sends a message that the church is unwilling to risk as Christ calls us to risk. Church becomes merely one more ineffective institution rather than a fount of grace and healing.

“’I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room. I was shivering and you gave me clothes. I was sick and you stopped to visit. I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then [people] are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’… I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me (Mathhew 25:37-40, The Message).”

The wounded are close by, perhaps right beside us, quite possibly within us. Do not leave them, do not abandon them. Let this be the start of a feel-good story.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024