Saturday, December 3, 2011

Healing on Trial

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?" Jesus said, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
  John 9:1-5 (The Message)
Recently, I saw a patient who reported that her last child was found to be blind when he was 3 months old; blind from birth.  I had seen this patient with that pregnancy and was unaware of this outcome.  It is still unclear in my mind how this happened!
I have also recently seen two movies that address how our contemporary culture understands healing.   These movies,  “Sympathy for Delicious” and ‘Lourdes” are similar in that our cultures are skeptical about the reality of healing; not unlike the report in John’s gospel (John 9:1-41).  We are no different than the disciples in the story and many times like the Pharisees who set out to investigate the cause and discredit the restoration of sight to this blind man.  We don’t “get it”! 
Much of my professional life has been looking for causes, effects  and prevention of birth abnormalities.   Sometimes, we know the cause and prevention responses but most of the time we do not see what God is doing!   We usually see only the “short stories”  and miss seeing the “bigger picture”.   In a paradoxical way the only way we see that larger vision of God’s healing work is to be a part of the story of suffering.  We recognize this big story in the witness and the work of people we call saints who have the “unconditional commitment to a place and a purpose”.  We do not believe that following Jesus is an easy path to avoid suffering and sometimes we finally come to believe that healing happens even when we don’t understand the underlying causes.

A witness of this Truth of God’s healing is Ken Medema.   He is a talented musician and a healing agent whose “blindness since birth” has given us all a new vision of God’s work in the world.   Check out his web site and if you have the opportunity, attend his performance of celebration and healing.

The film “Lourdes” with English subtitles can be found on
    search for “Lourdes film Full Movie Part (1 of 10)”


  1. In a strange coincidence, Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion on 12/3/11, describes Pastor Liz's healing ministry in Lake Wobegon! It is a humorous call to the church to rediscover its mission of healing!

  2. You've given me all kinds of sermon ideas, but too late, I'm afraid, to be incorporated for tomorrow. The person who came to my mind in connection with the blind from birth story was the man who in 2001 climbed Mt. Everest. The next year he climbed the other seven highest peaks. And today he is a high school wrestling coach. The man in the story did not have role models or examples like these.