Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Life Unplugged

I am going to preach about healing on Sunday. And as it happens, I am using the idea of “unplugging” from the things that bind us in order to be healed. How fortuitous that I found this super cool article about how unplugging from the world actually helps our brains function like they are supposed to!

When we roll from one screen to another, be it desktop or laptop or phone or TV or whatever, our attention wanders. Our brains actually cannot pay attention to one thing for a long time, say some hypotheses. Others are skeptical, of course, and science is still exploring this brand new field of inquiry.

But personal experience (as in the last ten days) lends itself to support of this idea. I spent the vacation unplugged. No phone, no texts, no facebook, no emails. (In full disclosure, I did go online one time, to confirm a reservation – but that was all.)

And I felt the “third day syndrome” that the article talks about, as time slowed down and each moment became larger in my awareness. It was very cool. I never once thought, “Well where did that day go?” Time never flew by. Even as busy as we were seeing sights and doing all the camping stuff, the 10 days stretched out as I experienced them, they did not rush by.

So Jesus unbinds a woman from the disease that has been bending her over for eighteen years (Luke 13:10-13). Then the synagogue leaders display how bound they are by the rules of their religion by criticizing Jesus for his healing (v. 14). Then Jesus illuminates their hypocrisy by pointing out that they themselves unbind their livestock on the Sabbath, and so why should a woman of God not be unbound (v. 15-16)?

In other words, healing is all about being freed from bondage in this story. And that is helpful, I think, in distinguishing “healing” from “curing.” One does not have to be cured of an ailment in order to be healed. Being healed might be being released from anxiety about the ailment, even while still suffering from it. Being healed might look like relief of pain, even as the disease continues to ravage the body. Being healed might even feel like being ready for death, and at peace with God.

Being healed may very well be analogous with being cured, as well. God is infinitely powerful and is able to do abundantly far more than we can ever ask or imagine. And so sometimes healing and curing happen at the same time, and when they do, the stories people tell are called “miracles” or evidence of “blessing.” However, just because we don’t see a cure does not mean that healing has not happened.

Think about what binds you. Is it technology? Television? The giant tubes that comprise the internets? Your Blackberry Curve? (Ouch.)

Now wait, I’m not intending to say that all technology is bad all the time. Technology has connected us to one another in remarkable ways. But those connections can quickly become sticky strands of webbing that do not allow us to function as God intends. From time to time, we need to heal, to be unbound from what traps us in a kind of existence that really isn’t the abundant life Jesus came to offer.

Life, unplugged.

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