John 12:27-36

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.

Cindy, Stephen Minister and Wounded Healer

Cindy was a much-loved Stephen Minister and friend to many. She had a gentle spirit, a heart wide open, and a big smile. I looked forward to seeing Cindy at the Eucharist on Saturday evenings. Cindy was one of those people you liked to be around. She was a faithful worshiper, a lover of God and His Church.

Cindy’s day job was massage therapy. She drove around in her pickup truck with camper: have massage therapy table will travel. She lived in a modest home in a marginally safe neighborhood. Cindy wasn’t about things. She was all about relationships. She was a friend for life to those who were her friends.

People in recovery often have a lot of issues from childhood that intrude well into adult life. Cindy worked a good program. She had excellent boundaries, and, as sweet as she was, Cindy had a zero-tolerance policy for people who didn’t work a good spiritual program. Cindy was a good sponsor to those new to recovery, but she could sniff out when she was being conned, or when people were acting like victims, and Cindy could tell such a person how the cow ate the cabbage. She knew how the program works.

Cindy wanted to be loved, treasured, and to be a good man’s wife. She was pretty in a natural way, no hours of putting on her face before a mirror on the wall. What you saw is what you got. Cindy knew how to be a caregiver without trying to be a cure giver. She knew her own wounds well and tried to use her vulnerability to be a caring friend and a helper on the long recovery road.

There was, for a time, a man in her life, whom she brought with her to worship. He seemed to be as down-to-earth as she. They were talking marriage and visited with me about the preparation process. One day she came in to talk about a major roadblock. He had not been honest with her about some very important issues that could impact their life together. She was both crushed and very firm that the deal was broken.

In retrospect, I think Cindy thought that the love they shared and her firm boundaries would provide enough of an incentive and encouragement for the man to clear away some wreckage from the past that had not been dealt with. I saw her hope begin to give way to disappointment and, then, sorrow.

She told me one day that this man she had let into her heart was going to marry another woman. Her hurt was compounded by the fact that he seemed to enjoy flaunting that he had found someone new. It was an assault on her soul, because you could see her questioning whether she ought to have held firm to her boundaries. Cindy died of a broken heart. Her leave-taking was sudden. She felt betrayed. I felt sick.

Cindy’s funeral was packed. People from all over town in the recovery community showed up. A sad day!

Thank you, Father, for Cindy, and all the wounded healers who touch many lives with love and kindness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Put forty-three pennies, nickels, or dimes in a bowl or box today to help to buy farm animals to help the global poor to make a sustainable living.

Pastor Samuel D. Zumwalt, STS

St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

Wilmington, North Carolina

The Daily Readings are from English Standard Version, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers