April 30, 2013: Don’t Tell Anyone!

Posted on : May 9th, 2013 | By | Category: Still Speaking

Anthony Robinson tells a great story:  After Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answers, “the Messiah,” Jesus then orders the disciples to “Tell no one about me!”  Some joker suggested this may be the only command of Jesus — “tell no one about me” — that the church has actually managed to keep!

Today I had the joy of teaching a group of “chaplains in training” at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.  The program is called “Clinical Pastoral Education.”  It’s a program in which spiritual care givers learn about themselves and the complexities and difficulties of offering spiritual care to persons who are ill.  For years I’ve taught chaplains about providing pastoral and spiritual care to and with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families at Clinical Pastoral Education programs in our major LA hospitals.  One of the topics I always discuss with the chaplains is “spiritual harm” and “spiritual woundedness.”

I always begin and end with the admonition of the physician’s oath (the so called, Hippocratic Oath – “First, Do No Harm”) which I’ve adapted for clergy and spiritual care givers:  “Do No Spiritual Harm.”  During the HIV/AIDS health crisis, I experienced over and over again how deeply wounded gay men would be when some well-meaning Christian told them they were going to hell if they didn’t repent of their “lifestyle.”

That methodology of spiritual care is never found in the ministry of Jesus.  Jesus never wounds anyone, never condemns anyone (except for a few self-righteous religious authorities), but rather always reaches out to heal those who are wounded and broken in body or spirit.  And then most of the time after Jesus offers healing and wholeness to someone who is wounded or broken, Jesus does something that is simply unheard of today.  He tells the person he has “healed” to tell no one of him. Why is this?  Anthony Robinson offers some great insights into “why Jesus does this” in this week’s devotional.

However, if Anthony is correct, and I think he is, we certainly shouldn’t be so quiet and ashamed (?) of being a follower of Jesus.  What do you think?

Blessings,

Dan

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