BREAKING NEWS: The 9 Marks of the church, a ministry of Mark Devers is really a front for a clandestine organization devoted receiving to the 9 Stigmata of Christ. While the 9 Marks ministry has received much attention of late, it seems to be based in a serious misunderstanding. The 9 “biblical” marks of the church are coded references to the 9 wounds of Christ received during his Holy Passion, which this group seeks to experience in their own bodies. Polemics against liberalism, the emerging or missional church, and bland evangelicalism are really pleas for everyone to experience for themselves the 9 Stigmata as a way of overcome the wounds of ecclesial divisions.
The 9 wounds of Christ to which this order is devoted are the wound on Christ’s back, the two nail holes in Christ’s feet, the two in Christ’s hands, the wound from the crown of thorns, Christ’s pierced sides, the wound of a broken heart, and a ninth secret wound, known only to those in the order.
A high ranking official in this secret order leaked this information because she (yes, she!) feels the message has not be received properly. In the hope of overcoming the wound of church division by devoting themselves exclusively to the 9 Wounds of Christ, this order actually desire to connect with the emerging, missional, liberal, and ecumenical dialogues so that all might experience the 9 Wounds of Christ from themselves, because as we know, “by his wounds we are healed.”
But in all seriousness, the church has been divided enough. Let us remember the broken body of Christ, torn apart again at each Eucharist, so that we might be united. As Thomas à Kempis says, “If you can not soar up as high as Christ sitting on his throne, behold him hanging on his cross. Rest in Christ’s Passion and live willingly in his wounds.” And as the old poem, Anima Christi, says,
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
(The woodcut print at the top of the post is by Sigmund Grimm, Augsburg, Germany, 1520.)