The moderator’s address noted the inevitability of human woundedness as the location of where the need for healing lies. She located hope in Christ, ‘our incarnate Lord, who became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, bringing hope and redemption’.
The Moderator anticipated our Assembly conversations which are ‘about our ultimate real humanness – made in the image of God, yet frail, broken and in need of healing’. The brokenness that humanity shares within the global context are shaped by what we name as Empire. She urged delegates and guests to the 2016 Assembly to ‘ground ourselves in the actual reality of our human struggle and not be tempted to reduce healing to a mere metaphor to symbolise God’s power to restore, reconcile and redeem.’
Her charge was centred on the farewell address by Moses –
“Today I offer you a choice between life and death, blessing and curse: choose life! Follow the commandments of our God – love God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself.” (Deut. 30:19)
Moses’ call to hope, relationally defined and which echoes Christ’s mission: “I have come that all may have fullness of life….” The critical memory of salvation in Moses’ farewell address is ‘about brokenness and God’s passion to heal us and to love us into life.’
In considering ‘our mission, in the context of the Empire which continues to oppress and destroy, we come with our memories of the pain and suffering that has been formative of our identity’. The moderator echoed Moses’ farewell address as an invitation to God’s healing and hope. God’s invitation to the healing process of healing ‘requires a choice and a readiness for participation in the process. We cannot be passive but actively choose life, and this often requires courage, determination and openness to change.’
In her exposition of the story of the paralysed man who waited thirty-eight years, the Moderator challenged the 2016 Assembly to ask what leaves us paralysed on the side of the pool too, and why would we not wish to be healed. She urged all that heeding ‘the Lord of life, the Wounded Healer and to obey God’s voice are critical choices for CWM to ‘bring healing, hope and fullness of life for all creation.’
Response to the Moderator’s Sermon at the Opening Worship from Assembly Youth Delegate Ms. Yu Tzu Chang, PCT
Rev. Pamela Tankersley’s inaugural preaching has tackled the theme “hope” through the action of healing. She elaborated the deeds “healing” by inviting us to look into our fragile humanity. We should “recognize that our suffering and our struggles are the very tools God will use to help us become more truly Christ-bearing healers, those whose actions bring hope.” This statement reminds me very much of how “the feeling of pain” is so necessary for us to bring up actions of love and care. For example, five years ago, the 311 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami aroused numerous volunteers from all over the world to gather in north-eastern Japan for reconstruction. Both Christians and non-Christians had come to do the labor work shoulders by shoulders. Accordingly, allow me to assert it is through the feeling of “pain” that we start taking actions of love and care. By feeling painful with the suffering, we know we are now “sad with those who are sad;” by feeling painful, an emergent call for healing has come into being that we know we must do something now; and it is because God knows our pains that “healing” is incarnated into Jesus Christ with real flesh and blood. Therefore, I know, we should not be afraid of feeling painful, for it is the way that God will use us as healers, and bearers of hope.