It's just your finger!

by Jaynan Clark Egland (President, WordAlone Network)

March 7, 2003

Communicating by the written and typed word is very difficult for me right now; in fact, it has been a real pain since the last day of January.

It was then that I took a dive down our staircase in the dead of night and was stopped at the bottom as my fall drove my finger into the nearest piece of furniture. The three bones that make up the end of my finger all gave way. Five weeks later, a hand specialist decided to go in surgically. With power tools in hand and four pieces of metal later, the surgeon put my finger back together.

This all happened because I chose to walk in the dark. Afraid that I would wake up the kids, I started down the steps without a light. I’ve been paying for that decision ever since. A lot of wasted time, inconvenience, pain and bills could have been avoided with a flick of a switch.

Walking in the dark can be dangerous.

But, I could have ignored the whole thing and let the bones continue to heal together out of place; but I was warned about and guaranteed of the extent of disability I would experience if I made that decision.

“It’s just a finger!” I continually lamented to the doctors. They explained that having that finger not function would mean no effective grip, limited athletic participation, keyboard restrictions and atrophy of the muscles along with arthritis.

Just a finger? Such a little part of the body?

We are all a part of a body, the larger church, with mass numbers of folks walking around in the dark. They don’t know, don’t understand or don’t care what is happening. Most know nothing about the changes that have come about since the passage of full communion agreement with The Episcopal Church USA, Called to Common Mission (CCM), more than three years ago.

When you begin to explain about the impact of an historic episcopate many look at you and seem tempted to reply, “It’s just a finger.”

“How important can that be anyway?… hardly seems worth fixing.”

The ELCA has been disabled not only by the passage of CCM, but also by the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, by the continuing issuance of social statements, in a declining global mission program and by its obsessive preoccupation with issues of sexuality. Just broke a few fingers.

These all seem to be the result of an institutional church that chooses to walk in the dark, fearing that if it turns on the light someone is going to wake up.

My surgery was a drastic measure, but it was necessary to right a wrong and to “get a grip” on life again.

Similarly, the light of the truth of Jesus Christ always comes as a “wake-up call” to each of us. Don’t be afraid to wake somebody up today. Turn on the light! It is dangerous to walk around in the dark. Together we can wake up the people of God with the light of the Word.

It only takes a flick of a switch.