Recognizing the Messiah
By Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
…Let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer to him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. —Alma 16:222 Book of Mormon RAV
My precious Jewish friend lay in the hospital dying of cancer. We had shared cancer experiences together and had many conversations about life and our possibilities of making others’ roads more passable. Now, she had only a few months, at most, to live. I visited her often, taking token gifts to cheer her, to show my love for her. We called each other daily. I tried to offer all the love and support possible. We talked about God and faith and heaven and dying. She taught me so much as she journeyed toward her final day.
Eventually a sign was posted on her door saying “No Entry.” It meant everyone! Doctors feared possible exposure to infection. I would stand at her door, longing to give her a hug. She would throw kisses to me and wrap her arms around herself in a hugging gesture. My heart hurt because I could not remove her pain and cause her to be well. She would call out to me in a hoarse voice, “Just pray.”
I told her, “I do pray for you always because I love you, and God loves you.” It comforted her. Despite her extreme pain, each time I left her or ended a phone call, it felt like she was the one reaching out to me. She always asked about our family, our health, our dreams—anything to keep the subject away from her.
That was many years ago. I will never forget her. When she passed away, her husband became even dearer to us, and we have stayed as close as possible to him. He is now in his 90s and continues to be a blessing to us, and we hope we are to him as well.
We are so grateful for such associations granted to us in life. In his book, The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen says we must be able “to recognize in others the face of the Messiah and make visible what was hidden, make touchable what was unreachable.” The Master calls us to act as wounded healers for those who are experiencing loneliness, alienation, separation, isolation, illness, to name a few. All wounds do not heal, but they may present openings for a new vision. I am so blessed for having recognized the Messiah in my friend Marilyn.
Prayer for Peace
Holy Healer, may we always be aware of the Messiah’s face in those with whom we come in contact every day. May we feel his presence as we share his peace.
Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity
Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.
Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “challenging” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep us from loving one another.
Today, God, wounded as I am, I will pray for peace for another wounded soul.