Sunday, November 3, 2013

Healing Spaces

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Psalm 23: 1-3
King James Version (KJV)

“In a church we learn to do ministry together.  We teach each other what Grace looks like and how it feels to be treated like a child of God.”
Rev. Dr. Douglas Brouwer, “One hand washes the other” September 3, 2006
Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Esther Sternberg in a conversation with Krista Tippett (On Being) describes the importance of the healing environment.   She used as as her first example the wisdom of the Psalmist.

We all continue to look for those spaces in our lives that bring wholeness.  What we frequently miss is the origin of these spaces in God’s creation.  We attempt to duplicate these holy spaces in our churches, cathedrals, temples and hospitals.   We know that these spaces are important.   

For me, a holy space has been “educational” in the encounters with both patients and students.  It is a holy space that many times is corrupted by power, competition and credentials.  What is awesome is seeing the results even years later in their healing lives.  It is life-giving.



Sternberg, E. M. (2010). Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being (1 ed.). Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Verhulst J.  Kramer D.  Swann AC.  Hale-Richlen B.  Beahrs J. The medical alliance: from placebo response to alliance effect. [Review] Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease.  201(7):546-52, 2013 Jul.

Larkin GL.  Mello MJ. Commentary: doctors without boundaries: the ethics of teacher-student relationships in academic medicine.  Academic Medicine.  85(5):752-5, 2010 May.

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