My favorite C.S. Lewis’ books are his space trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.
In them, the protagonist, a man by the name of Ransom, has a wound that he received in another world. It incapacitates him in this world and cannot be healed on this planet. This idea has always intrigued me. It seems to be very much in line with sound teaching on confessing our sins to another person or even with the 12-Steps of the AA movement. When a wound has occurred, either to me or by me, I must return to the source to find healing. Sometimes that feels like going to another planet!
The Steps in AA build to a point where one assesses their sins and then, if possible, seeks forgiveness from the person they sinned against. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:15 to go to our brother or sister who has sinned against us (wounded us) and share the pain of that wound with them.
We must return to the place where we were wounded to be healed.
This also means that the wound from the Fall (Genesis 3) that all of humanity bears must be taken back to the source, to God, who was wounded by our listening to the serpent and who has been bearing the pain of our transgressions ever since (Is. 53:5). Our deepest wound, the one that results in death, cannot be healed through food or shopping or endless entertainment. We will only get through our own incapacitations in life by returning to the world where that wound happened. That world is the new Garden of Eden, restored through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from a garden tomb. We make that return journey every time we participate in the Eucharist or Holy Communion. There, we are given a bit of the medicine from the source of Life that is necessary to heal our wounded souls.
In his book, “Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer,” Lewis attempts to explain what happens in the Lord’s Supper: Here a hand from the hidden country touches not only my soul but my body…Here is big medicine and strong magic… the command, after all, was Take, eat: not Take, understand.
Ransom understood this need for medicine from another place. May we, also. May we seek to find full healing in the Kingdom of God, now and unto life everlasting.
Have you ever experienced the disorienting feeling that going back to the place of your woundedness is like returning to another world?
What do you make of the idea of Communion as holy medicine?
Valerie Hess is an author, instructor in the Spring Arbor University’s Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership (MSFL) program, retreat speaker, musician, mother and pastor’s wife. She does a weekly blog at www.valeriehess.com and has written numerous articles, mostly on the themes of spiritual formation through the spiritual disciplines and church music. She has written three books: Habits of a Child’s Heart: Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines (co-authored with Dr. Marti Watson Garlett), Spiritual Disciplines Devotional: A Year of Readings and The Life of the Body: Physical Well-Being and Spiritual Formation" (co-authored with Lane M. Arnold). Her husband is an Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Boulder, CO. She has two daughters.