I think a lot about what it means to be risen with healing. Every Christmas we sing the quintessential Wesley carol: "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," which contains the curious line "ris'n with healing in his wings" - referring to the Christ who will be born to die, and then rise from that death.
Once a month, also, we affirm our common faith through the Apostles Creed. We state, along with Christians since the fourth century, that we believe in the "resurrection of the body." This is classic Pauline theology, which emphasizes the fact that God created every bit of us (body, soul, everything) and the whole cosmos, and that everything will be resurrected. We are not perfect souls placed in imperfect bodies. The ENTIRE CREATION will be made new.
So what does this mean for someone born with a disability? What does this mean for someone whose illness has become an integral part of their experience of creation? What does this mean for Shirley Baker, created by God without eyes? What does it mean for her to be risen with healing, as Christ was and promised for each of us?
Our brilliant teacher last week, Dr. Carla Works, told a story that reminded me of something else I suspect about the afterlife. I believe that the distorted experience we have of this creation has limited our ability to understand what God will be able to do with us and the creation. Like, now we have five senses - maybe then we will have ten? Now we see "through a glass darkly," but then we will see clearly.
Dr. Works told a story from Radiolab (which is a fantastic public radio program) about how certain people have additional cones in our eyes that enable us to see more colors than others. She also mentioned how in the ancient world, the color blue was not a concept. Last week I saw the musical Matilda with my aunt and uncle, and the lead character sings something like, "what if what I see as red is not what someone else sees as red at all?"
The mantis shrimp has 12 sets of cones in their eyes, enabling them to see four times as many colors as the average human.
What if being risen with healing is like having the capacity to see every single color, when now we only see a few? How can we even imagine what it could be like? We have little bitty glimpses, every now and again, of what God's Kingdom looks like.