The greatest effect hearing the cries of our ancestors has on us not only comes from getting in touch with our own soul’s voice but also awakens us to hear the cries of those who have no voice today. There has always existed in society a pattern of disenfranchising the weak and wounded—people who have been labeled as unlovable, untouchable, and therefore, unreachable. For some, disenfranchisement was due to their disease or illness. For others, it was due to their poverty. Still for others, it was due to their gender, race, religion, politics, or social class. Many in society preferred such people not to be seen, let alone heard from. However, just as the cries of our ancestors and those who have been the victims of crimes against humanity can never be silenced, and so, too, are the cries of the disenfranchised heard above the din of everyday life. Their cries are not only heard deep within the soul but their pain is also given a voice through those who speak for them.
The beauty of the gospel centers on how Christ viewed the woundedness of people. He never saw them as "sinners" but rather "lost." He never reduced people to their illness, disease, or situation in life, but instead, saw them as people in need of liberation. For faith communities today, and as a model for pastoral counseling, Christ's way of redemption is essential for those who desire to offer healing to the bereaved, disenfranchised or otherwise. In order to redeem wounded and bereft people, Christ went beyond the limits of the purity laws, reaching out to the "unclean" on the fringes of society and restored them as persons of dignity and worth. By ministering to marginalized people, Christ enfranchised people as members of a far greater society, the Kingdom of Heaven. Certainly, as we are exposed to the losses and pain of others, we get in touch with our wounds. Of course, this is also key to redeeming others from their pain: We are able to model Christ's redemption to the wounded, since we acknowledge that we have been redeemed, both from our sins and from the on-going wounds and scars we sustain as we are engaged in life and death.
For us today, we can see many similarities between our lives and Peter of the gospels. In many ways his story mirrors ours. For instance, how many times are we unsure of ourselves? How often are we prone to shame and guilt? How often do we become overly enthusiastic, often speak before we think, are rash in our behavior, at times becoming more stubborn than a mule, and may even get a little hot-tempered? More than we would like to admit, I imagine. Yet before we write ourselves off as hopeless, consider this. Jesus never saw Peter as hopeless. What Jesus did see was potential, potential that would be realized through one simple touch of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that the rushing winds of Pentecost would make all of the difference in the life of Peter, us, and the world. The purpose of this book not only is to explore a before and after transformation of Peter by examining his words in the gospels, but also for us to seek transformation by contemplating how his life reflects our own.
The more we recognize the presence of God in our lives, the more we experience an empathetic resonance; namely, our soul coming into resonance with the soul of God. What we discover in being more fully connected to the soul of God is that we are connected to things that bring us great joy, as well as connected to things that are disturbing and cause us great suffering. Still, we embrace all to be an extension of God's presence-grace and healing for people who are looking and listening for God's presence.