Dearly Beloved Friends: I'm spending some time this week with my family and offer you a piece that I wrote two years ago. Within the reflection is the link to another musing entitled, "Grace for the Moment." How time gives us perspective! As I revisited both of the musings, my heart filled with gratitude for the people God brings into our lives at the right moments, in the right timing. Perhaps that is where true healing begins: stepping out of our time zone into the vulnerable hourglass of a God whose love never runs out.
Let The Healing Begin (March 27, 2014)
The people who were standing fell backwards, and the people seated in wheelchairs stood up.
If someone had asked me fifteen years ago what a "healing service" was, this would have been my description. Dramatic, physical reversals occurred before our eyes. Blaring from microphones were testimonies of vanished pain. Ministers like Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, and Benny Hinn became household names because of the miracles happening in their services. They also became well-known for investigations into the "validity" of these signs and wonders.
The concerns are understandable. Were these healing tales simply tall tales used as marketing schemes? As the body of Christ, we must hold each other accountable. It is heartbreaking when a brother or sister "uses" faith for selfish gain. Repentance, confession, forgiveness, and restoration are necessary responses by the Church. But we on the other side of the television screen only hear half of the story so often. We hear either the good or the bad, and in the case of televangelists, what we usually hear is the bad.
Some of us, in our disillusionment, may have responded to these scandals by writing off healing as a 21st century reality.
We might say that the miracles Jesus did in the gospels don't occur now.
We could say that all of those "healings" we saw on TV were contrived.
Friends, when we start claiming what is (and is not) the work of the Holy Spirit in absolute terms, we are stepping into precarious territory.
The Holy Spirit works in the glamorous, jam-packed arenas as well as the simple, country-church altars. The Holy Spirit works in spite of greedy leaders, critical onlookers, and the messes that all of us are. The Holy Spirit works through the messiness of us all whether on or off the television.
And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is healing.
Today, if someone were to ask me what a healing service is, I would share a story from this blog. Recently revised and published by Fidelia's Sisters, a publication of The Young Clergy Women Project, Grace For the Moment tells the story of a pastor who was leading worship one Sunday morning with a broken heart. Through the whispered love of a congregation, her healing began in song and liturgy.
This past Sunday, the same pastor administered the anointing of oil at a quarterly Service of Healing. The same altar that had absorbed her tears, my tears, held the heartache of saints who knelt for a healing touch and a holy meal.
Why do churches so often avoid services of healing and reconciliation?
Why are they not a more central part of our gathered life?
Why do we avoid God's miraculous power in fear or skepticism?
It's time to reclaim healing as a priority in our communities of faith.
Looking back, perhaps my perception of a "healing service" really hasn't changed that much. We fell into God's embrace as we knelt together. We rose from the rail as others have stood from wheelchairs over the years. Falling down. Getting up. By a power not our own.
all good things to each of you,