"Turning Illness Into Wellness"
Written by the Venerable Calhoun Walpole,
Archdeacon of the Diocese of South Carolina
Every day at Noon, at least so far, the clergy of Grace Church Cathedral have been walking and praying the Stations of the Cross—on behalf of the Cathedral congregation, as well as the entire diocese. We are using the form published by Forward Movement, which is based on St Augustine’s Prayer Book. The first reading—part of the Opening Prayers Before the Altar—reads as follows:
He who bore the Holy Cross did break the power of sin, death, and the grave. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.
Right now, the whole world, perhaps as never before, is stricken, struck down, and certainly afflicted. We know that God does not willingly bring affliction upon his beloved creation—but we do know that God can use any and all events and experiences of life—even suffering, even death. It is the message of the Cross. Even now, our Lord Jesus is bearing our infirmities and carrying our diseases—even the disease that is our current pandemic. The very word "pandemic" means affecting "all people." As the whole world—all people—are suffering at the moment, the invitation to us all is to uncover meaning in the suffering. Malcolm X is famously reputed to have said: “When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we’ even illness becomes wellness.” By our Lord’s wounds we are healed. Perhaps this suffering of us all will lead to the healing of all—and unity of all. Lord, have mercy.
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During the uncertain times created by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, leadership of the diocese will send out regular meditations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays for the next while as we all adjust to a new chapter of living and being the Church.