Remission. In Cancerland, it is a wonderful word. A word which is coveted by every person in the chemo room, doctor’s office, hospital, or lab. It is every patient’s goal to hear that word, and every doctor’s desire to say it. It means the diminution of the disease…the cancellation of cancer. The origin of the word comes from the Latin remit; to send back or restore. Pardon me, but I like to imagine sending cancer back to hell from whence it came. For me, seeing life restored, after this dreaded disease tries to steal it, is a beautiful thing. Skin begins to glow again. The blood counts rise, resulting in energy and effortless breathing. Hair returns in baby-like softness creating fluffy wavy curls. The eyes lose their hollowed out appearance and regain sparkle. Bruises from the abuse of this disease, fade away.
Bigger than the physical changes are the mental/emotional ones. The survival-mode-mentality fades, as the hope in the future is restored. Gratefulness is the emotion of choice, and it bubbles up through tears and laughter at the same time. Every small detail of life is noticed and appreciated. Colors are brighter, faces more detailed, trees more beautiful, family more loved, the sun shines brighter, and every single thing seems to be pulsing with life. It is a fabulous feeling to be a part of the heartbeat again, instead of feeling life ebb away daily. Healing, health, wholeness all collude together to bring hope and happiness. All this because of one word. Remission. What a glorious term. To say ‘I am in remission’ is to say ‘death did not take me, I am alive!’ It is a defiant word which is said with heartfelt conviction and all the hope of the future behind it, while standing tall and breathing deeply of life. It is a proclamation that requires an exclamation point!
I am sure my understanding and experience of that word and the emotion intertwined within it are the reasons it jumped off the page at me this week as I was reading in Matthew 26.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sin. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:28
Wait. What? Remission of sin? The diminution of the death-causing disease, the cancelation of the cancer of sin. When Jesus remitted sin, he sent it back to hell from whence it came. He restored life. This passage is about his last meal with his friends and he knew it. He knew the bread he broke and the cup he poured, represented his body and blood which were about to be riddled with sin-disease. He knew the pain that would come just hours after this meal. He knew the life would drain from him, because sin-disease would ruthlessly steal it, pull out his hair, drain his blood, zap his energy, rip his skin apart, bruise his body, and ultimately stop the life flow. He would no longer feel the pulse, and life would ebb out of him until it stopped his heart. (He also knew it would not stop his resurrection or ours, but that is next week’s blog.)
He painted the picture for them, even though they were unaware. Bread made from crushed wheat, wine made from crushed grapes. Ingested, or I should say, infused. To fill or pervade; to soak in healing properties. Jesus became the chemo. His body and blood the medicine, to rid us of the sin-disease that was killing us. He submitted himself to sin in order to bring us the antidote. He is the cure that brings our glorious remission. When we submit to this infusion of his life, everything is brighter. Hope is fanned into full flame. Life pulses into us through gratefulness…to be free from disease, to be whole, to be healed. Tears fill our eyes even as we laugh with joy at our great fortune. What was killing us, riddling our lives with death and stealing from us, has been reversed and sent back. We are restored to health because the disease has been cancelled. Forgiveness is ours and so too, freedom from death. We stand, breathe deeply of life and proclaim “Because of Jesus, death did not take me and I am alive.” We are infused with his crushed body and blood which results in our healing. Our heart cries out for all the world to hear, “I am in remission!!”