The last few days I’ve been thinking about whether it’s possible for people to be vulnerable in a healthy way. So, to figure it out, I looked up the dictionary definition of the word.

Vulnerable: open to the point where it is possible to be hurt

I checked a few dictionaries. None of them have a very positive connation of the words vulnerable or vulnerability.

I’ve been pondering the books and speeches and conversations that have been most meaningful to me over the last 26 years. I think of author Anne Lamott. She exposes the truths of her life through her memoirs. And right now I’m working my way through the book “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. He also has a vulnerable rawness to his words.

There is something that draws me to people who aren’t afraid to sometimes be open and exposed. Of course, there are those who take this way too far and over-expose; that isn’t what I’m referring to. Mostly, I think what I’m realizing is that it’s healthy for all of us to have a space/place/person/time/notebook where we can regularly be our real selves. Just as we are. Vulnerable. Open. Broken. Whole. Seeking.

This Sunday, the Gospel lesson (the Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible) is John 6:56-69. At this point in the gospel lesson, Jesus has said some difficult things that make people uncomfortable. And they decide to leave. His teachings are just too radical and strange for them. And in verse 67, we hear a vulnerable, possibly slightly frightened/sad Jesus say to the 12 disciples, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Jesus’ question opens the door for Simon Peter to say his famous words, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Maybe Jesus knew what Simon’s response was going to be. Or maybe he didn’t. Either way, I’m glad Jesus was vulnerable enough to ask the question. Because I believe Simon’s response was something that Jesus needed to hear at that moment, and something that Simon needed to say, and something that we all can be comforted/challenged by again and again.

May we all have the courage to be vulnerable from time to time.

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