Sermon October 21 Featured


We come together to ask God for healing. It is a serious subject but I decided to start with some funny stories about going to the doctor.

A doctor said that a patient announced she had good news … and bad. “The medicine for my earache worked,” she said.
“What’s the bad news?” he asked.
“It tasted awful.”
Since she was feeling better, he didn’t have the heart to tell her they’re called eardrops for a reason. They belong in your ear not your mouth.

A patient told this story.
When I went to the ER to have a painful ingrown toenail removed, I was sobbing, gagging, petrified … the works. But my doctor knew how to calm me down. “Don’t worry about a thing,” he assured me. “I just looked up how to perform this operation on YouTube.”

“Here,” says the nurse, handing the patient a urine specimen container. “The bathroom’s over there.” A few minutes later, the patient comes out of the bathroom.
“Thanks,” he says, returning the empty container. “But there was a toilet in there, so I didn’t need this after all.”

The Reader’s Digest used to have a section titled “Laughter is the best medicine”. I started today with some funny stories because data shows that when we laugh, our brain produces endorphins, which are up to 500 times more effective at eliminating pain than morphine. Laughter raises levels of disease fighting immunoglobulins by 14 percent. Laughter is helpful for healing.

So is prayer. “Studies of the effect of patients’ faith on disease outcomes have shown reduced hypertension, better lipid profiles and lower cholesterol levels, and improved immune function”. All of us should know how spirituality can help with our own healing. Let us use the understanding that our healing is impacted by our spiritual selves. We wish to pray for healing for ourself and for others. Let us join together asking God through Jesus to heal us.

Every person in church today and people that we love would benefit from healing prayer. All of us need healing in some way. Most of us have some physical problem that could use the power of God’s healing. Right now, my healing needs are for the common aches and pains of aging. But for some, the physical needs are much more acute. We need healing for our psychological being as well. We deal with feelings of rejection, anger, jealousy, frustration and sadness. We need healing for our relationships. We need healing for a divided nation.

So we turn to God in prayer. I have chosen three stories of healing from our Scripture. God healed King Hezekiah and allowed him to live as king for fifteen more years. In the readings from Acts, Peter healed the man at the gate, a man who had been lame from birth. In the Gospel, Jesus healed the woman who touched his cloak and healed the daughter of the leader of the synagogue. I could have chosen many other readings found in Scripture. These are just three of my favorites.

I often turn to Jesus to ask for healing. Jesus is our savior and our redeemer. Jesus is our mediator and advocate. Jesus is our judge, the one who gives us mercy. Jesus brings us into one with God. These are just a few of the ways we understand the blessings that Jesus gives us in our lives. Most importantly, Jesus is our healer for even in his death on the cross he healed us from our sins.

Our Gospels, especially Matthew, Mark and Luke, have story after story of people who were healed by Jesus. Jesus healed people who were blind and lame, people who were paralyzed, people who were deaf, people who had chronic illnesses, people who were thought to be dead. People were healed in different ways, some by the spoken word of Jesus, some were healed by simply touching his cloak and some by their faith. Yes, Jesus was a healer.

The healing Jesus provided often included more than the solution to a physical ailment. Jesus often told people that their sins were forgiven. In doing so, he healed them of the pain of sin, perhaps their guilt.

Jesus healed people in their relationships. Jesus dealt with the apostles as they argued about which was the greatest. He spoke to the woman at the well about her many husbands and brought her closer to God, helped her to prophesy to the other townspeople. Jesus often asked people to look inside of themselves and to see who they really were. It was all in an attempt to heal the entire mind, body and spirit. Jesus came to heal us in every way, whether that be physical or mental or emotional or relational.

I chose to do this service today in part because Thursday was the feast of Saint Luke. Yes, we believe Saint Luke to be the author of the Gospel that bears his name and the author of Acts of the Apostles. But Luke is also mentioned by Paul as one of his followers. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he refers to Luke as the beloved Physician. Because of this, Luke has come to be the patron saint of healers. Luke is the only one who didn’t leave Paul when he was persecuted. Luke gave us six miracles that do not appear in any of the other gospels. The Order of Saint Luke is an organization of clergy, health professionals and lay people who believe healing is an essential part of the teaching and practice of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is an ecumenical organization dedicated to the Christian healing ministry.

I remind you that not all of the work is God’s. We have a roll as well. Sometimes, we are the caregivers. We can be an important presence in the lives of those in need.

Henry Nouwen wrote about our roll. “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”

He also spoke about the importance of presence this way. “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares.”

We ask God to heal people in this church, people that we know are sick and suffering, and people on our prayer list. We pray that God will help doctors and nurses and all care givers to know how they can best help, to guide their hands as they work.

I am finished talking about healing and prayers. I think it is time to just pray. I think touch is an important part of healing prayer. Remember, that the woman simply touched the cloak of Jesus and she was healed. I ask you to reach out and hold the hands of someone nearby. I hope you feel the power of that touch as I offer this prayer for all of us.

Lord God, you are the creator of the Universe, the all powerful one. We pray that you will send your healing power to be among us today. Lord Jesus Christ, we know that you offered healing to the sick and suffering, we ask that you offer that healing to each of us here present. O Holy One, send the breath of life to be with us, that it may be to us a source of healing for all that ails us. Gracious God, we ask you to heal each of us physically. We ask you to heal our minds, to help us get rid of anger and frustration, sadness and jealousy, loneliness and anxiety. We ask you to provide healing for this congregation that we may be united in our worship, and that we may forgive those who have harmed us. Bring us together to do your work in the world. We ask that you heal those things that divide our country, helping us to listen and to find understanding so that we will work together on all of our problems. We ask for this in the name of the Holy and undivided Trinity. Amen.

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