The Oxford English Dictionary reluctantly admits that woundedness is a valid word, but says it is rare. What is not rare is the fact of human woundedness. We bear the legacies of wounding events or words – physical, mental, psychic, or simply fantasy, they can be open wounds or troublesome scars. So, life for many entails finding ways, often heroically, to compensate for the limitations woundedness imposes.
There is, just as real, a woundedness of spirit, a sense of defeat it may be, or of inferiority, or deprivation. Any or all of this can manifest in anger, or in defensiveness, unwillingness to take risks… it may show up in euphoria, partying, misuse of alcohol and other drugs. And there is the woundedness of ageing – it’s not only bits of us packing up like an old washing machine, but also, in far more cases than we think proper, the distressing facts of senility.
One reality of woundedness is that the more we try to hide it, the more it may be apparent to the discerning eye. Denial is another ploy… “Everything’s going to be just fine”, you hear routinely in American movies... somewhere over the rainbow, I presume. Send the children upstairs… lest they hear something that might suggest the world can be a nasty place… which they may be suspecting already. The powerfully rich cosmetic industry is dedicated to denial, driving (botoxing) back the visible effects of ageing... with what we might call mixed results.
Jesus was wounded. It is in the nature of love to share woundedness. The ancient Hebrew prophecy said the Servant would bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. Even the resurrected Lord invites his disciples to see his wounds – rich wounds, says the hymn writer, yet visible above. He bore the wounds that go with simply living among people, in his case, an oppressed people brutally ruled by an occupying power… but also, his immediate company of disciples and friends had its tensions and defections, misunderstandings, needless alienations. Kawau Bay some mornings is beautifully calm and unruffled... but an elderly Maori woman I met one day in a waiting room in Warkworth, when I said the bay looked nice, told me the taniwha – she actually called it Tangaroa – was getting restless and therefore dangerous. Church meetings at times could be among the worst for wounding people.
When we come to the silence and stillness of contemplative prayer, we have come to a “place” where there can be no guilt or embarrassment about our woundedness. There is no talk of blame here – no one says, “Well she brought it on herself” ... as though that contributes to the sum of understanding and compassion, or truth. Any brokenness we may set to one side, because here at any rate we are living from wholeness and newness. The grace that operates here, in love, is reconfiguring our relationships with the past. What is asked from us is the willingness of the heart to be still, to cease the chatter and self-justification, and to say Yes to God who is always saying Yes to us, in love.
 Isaiah 53:3-6`
 Luke 24:39-40; John 20:20, 25-28