Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Healing

How beautiful on the mountains 
   are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
Breaking the news that all's well, 
   proclaiming good times, announcing salvation, 
   telling Zion, "Your God reigns!"    
Isaiah 52:7 The Message
He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. 
Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, 
   God's Spirit is on me; 
      he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, 
   Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, 
   To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, "This is God's year to act!"
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. 
Every eye in the place was on him, intent. 
Then he started in, 
"You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."
 All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, "Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since he was a youngster?"
He answered, "I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, 'Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.
                                                                   Luke 4:16-27 The Message
Most of the time our worlds get categorized into, teacher/student, nurse/patient, clergy/laity, us/them, etc.  These categories often carry with them a delusion of immunity and power.  The biblical story is that we are not immune and do not have the power.   Our healing is not distinct from those we serve.
We are vulnerable and sometimes we need to be at two different places at once...”providing care” and being “cared for”.   We know that sometimes we don’t have places to be “cared for” or we don’t  make use of the ones that are available.
One place to be “equipped” - to be a part of the suffering world - is the church.  It is a place where we can hear the “larger” stories of faith.  For Christians, the church has not only been a refuge but a community that believes that it has other responses to a suffering world.  The components can be prayer, meditation, singing, study and maybe even potluck suppers.   That is the wisdom for us as we read the visions of Isaiah and Jesus reading Isaiah in the “meeting place”.
There are many styles of response by churches*.  For some churches, “our healing” is part of its missional goal.   They focus on “equipping”  healing agents and sending them into a world of suffering.  This reality is named  “salvation” and for others “redeemed”, but what ever the word it is the basis of “Our Healing”. 

*Dunlap, S. J. (2009). Caring Cultures: How Congregations Respond to the Sick. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press.

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