Tag Archives: healing

The Expert (address – Upper Clyde Parish Church, Abington – 15: February: 2015)

Mark 1 verses 40-45

Sermon-Jesus-heals-ten-men-with-Leprosy

One evening, the eight-year-old daughter of a single mum was very ill in bed with the flu. She was running a fever, and her mother was naturally very worried.

Her mother, realising that she was out of paracetamol, decided that she would take a chance on leaving the little girl for five minutes, to drive to the chemist before it closed.

She didn’t like leaving her youngster, but there seemed to be no alternative.

She managed to get to the chemist minutes before it shut, and bought the medication.

When she got outside the shop, she realised, to her horror, that she’d locked herself out of her car. And – worse – not only were the car keys inside, so were her house keys!

Panic! What could she do?

She could not get into the car. If she walked, she could not get into the house.

Time was getting on. Her daughter was in bed, and would soon wake and miss her mum.

Standing on the pavement, she prayed fervently to God to help her.

With that, round the corner ambled the most disreputable, shifty looking youth. She stopped him. “Can you help me, please?” she implored him. “Could you open that car door for me?”

“Nae bother, missus” she said, and within twenty seconds had magically released the lock and opened the door.

“Open sesame!” and with a flourish, gestured her toward the now open door.

“You’re an angel of mercy!” she said to him.

“No really, missus” he replied, I was just released from the jail this morning after six months for breaking into motor cars”

With that, the woman closed her eyes in prayer and said “Lord, thank you for sending me an expert!”
Jesus was the expert sent by God to release folk from all that shut them off from the whole and full life God wants for his children.

Jesus is the expert liberator who sets us free.
Many years ago, in the 1930s, there was a man who lived in London, who built up a thriving engineerimg business.

But his main interest was a Christian mission to the deprived areas of the East End. He was heavily involved in this outreach, and quickly developed into an expert preacher.

One day, his engineering job took him to one of the large railway works at Swindon where the
great locomotives were built.

After the manager had shown him around, and business had been concluded, he was escorted to the factory exit. There they shook hands.

Immediately, abruptedly, the visiting engineer pulled his hand away; the manager’s hand was unpleasantly cold and a bit slimy.

Quickly, he realised what a dreadful faux pas he had committed, and became embarrassed and flustered.

The manager looked at him and said, “Don’t worry. It happens often. You see, when I was an apprentice, I had an accident: a nail was driven through my right hand and I’ve never been able to close it since then.”

The visiting engineer stretched out his hand and gently laid it on the other man’s shoulder, and said……

……”many, many centuries ago, there was a young carpenter in a far off place called Nazareth. HE had a nail driven through HIS hand – and he too has never been able to close it since.”

Christ’s calloused hands, the hands of carpenter, were stretched out on the wood of the Cross, stretched out – almost in blessing……

And these rough, chapped hands of the expert – paradoxically gently and tenderly – have blessed, have comforted, have healed.

These broken hands have brought wholeness and freedom to so many.

Today’s Gospel story is about his healing a leper – a man with a dreaded skin disease, as our translation puts it. He freed that man from a life of misery. He liberated that man from being shut in on himself, and shut off from the rest of society.

Jesus is the expert who sets us free. Who unlocks the door to a better life.

And as has been said by many commentators on this passage, leprosy as compared to sin.

Sin is a kind of moral leprosy.

Sin, like leprosy, separates – it shuts us off from each other.

Like Leprosy, it is divisive – it breaks up families, friendships, community living.

Sin fragments.

Sin, like leprosy, breaks up satisfying living conditions, it catches on, it spreads.

But, think again of that story of the leper that we listened to. Jesus made him alive again, whole again. Jesus returned him to normality.

Healing or wholeness came through contact with Jesus Christ. If disease is contagious, so is Christ’s redeeming power. This is the Gospel!

Jesus is the expert healer, redeemer, and liberator. By grace, He frees us from our sins.
His are the hands of the Master

There is an old poem about the touch of the Master’s hand

It was battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
Hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three”,
But, No,
From the room far back a grey haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet,
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its’ bow.
“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
“We just don’t understand.”
“What changed its’ worth?”
Swift came the reply.
“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”
“The Master’s Hand” was written by Myra Brooks Welch, a lady who was a gifted musician – until severe arthritis affected her

There she was confined to her wheelchair, battered and scarred from her illness, which had taken away her ability to make music. Instead, her musical soul spoke through her poetry.
She took one pencil in each of her badly deformed hands. Using the rubber tip, she would slowly type the words, the joy of them outweighing the pain of her efforts.

Her words, a joyous expression of the wonders of life, as seen by a singing soul that was touched by the Master’s Hand

We may not be experts, but if we allow the hands of Christ to metaphorically touch us, we as a result can be HIS hands – comforting, encouraging, guiding, soothing, becalming…… not necessarily bringing about actual healing…… but perhaps restoring something of the brokenness of others, and bringing about wholeness and peace.

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Youth Alive at DGRI

Youth Alive at DGRI

Yes this Just Happened!! COME ON JESUS! Healings took place and one old man accepted Jesus into his heart! Baaaamm! #jesus #thatsmyking

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November 15, 2013 · 13:20

Dangerous

Herbert and Catherine Schaible did not seek medical help for their eight-month-old son who died.

A fundamentalist Christian couple in the US who believe in faith-healing over medicine pleaded no contest to third-degree murder in the death of their infant son, nearly four years after they were put on probation for the similar death of another child.

The 10-year probation term in the 2009 case required Herbert and Catherine Schaible to seek immediate medical help if another of their children became sick or injured. But prosecutors said the couple instead prayed over their 8-month-old son, Brandon, before he died of pneumonia in April.

Assistant district attorney Joanna Pescatore said she could argue for any sentence up to the 20- to 40-year maximum prison term when the Schaibles return for sentencing in February.

The Schaibles were on probation because they had previously been convicted by a jury of involuntary manslaughter in the January 2009 pneumonia death of their 2-year-old son, Kent.

Herbert Schaible, 45, remained jailed Thursday, unable to post US$250,000. His 44-year-old wife has been free since members of their church raised 10 percent of the same bail amount to secure her release.

The no-contest plea has the same legal effect as a guilty plea, but it means the couple didn’t admit wrongdoing and chose not to contest the evidence against them.

Herbert Schaible’s attorney, Bobby Hoof, said his client didn’t want to go to trial.

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Ten Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus

Jesus, follow, christian, what not to do

by Mark Sandlin
Lot’s of people claim to be “following Jesus” and then they do stuff like this. Sure, people who follow Jesus do these things all the time but you can’t say you are doing them because you are trying to follow Jesus’ example. (Clearly, this is not a complete list but it’s a good place to start).
10) Exclude people because they practice another religion. Jesus was constantly including people and he did it with a radical disregard for their religion. We have not one recorded incident of Jesus asking for a person’s religious affiliation before being willing to speak with them or break bread with them. We do have several records of Jesus seeking out folks who happen to practice faith differently from him. There was even this one time when he used a hated Samaritan as an example of how we are supposed to take care of each other.
9) Exclude people for what they look like, how they were born or things beyond their control. I may have mentioned this already but Jesus was constantly including people. Jesus had this rebel streak in him that actually sought out folks who didn’t “fit in.” People who were different, people who were marginalized, people who were made to feel unwanted in one way or another held a special place in the heart, life and actions of Jesus. I suspect he did it because he understood they weren’t actually different at all. Touch the leapers (the “untouchables”). Do it.
8) Withhold healthcare from people. Ever play the game “Follow the Leader”? If you don’t do what the leader does, you are out. Following means you should imitate as closely as possible. When people who were sick needed care Jesus gave it to them. If we are following Jesus, we will imitate him as closely as possible. No, we can’t repeat the miracles he did but I’ve seen modern medicine do things that are about as close to a miracle as I expect to get.
7) Exclude people. Last time. Promise. Jesus was constantly including people. It’s a little concept called love. He was pretty big on it.
6) Let people go hungry. When Jesus said “feed my sheep,” it was about more than just a spiritual feeding. As a matter of fact, if Gandhi was right (and I suspect he was), you can’t have one without the other: “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” There is not a food shortage in the world. There is enough for everyone. There is not a problem with having a capable distribution system; I can eat lobster from Maine while looking at the Pacific ocean. The problem is that we aren’t very good at sharing.

5) Make money more important than God (and the children of God). The love of money really is the root of all sorts of evil. Every day we make choice about what we will do with our money. Our choices speak louder than our words. Willingly or not, our choices frequently hurt the least of these and others rather than help them. Sometimes we even hurt ourselves. Our money is so important, we willing shop at stores because they are cheeper even though we know the products they sale recklessly endanger the lives of those who make them. We buy food which is mass produced with disregard for health impacts because the farmer down the road is more expensive. We’d rather keep more of our money than pay the taxes it takes to provide for those in need. We have a money problem.
4) Judge others. “That ‘speck of sawdust in you brother’s eye’ and ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ stuff? Meant it,” Jesus.
3) Be physically aggressive or violent. Okay, okay. “Jesus in in the temple grounds with the money changers.” I’ll give you that one but other than that Jesus both gave the example of and taught his followers to avoid violent behaviour. “Put your sword away, (Insert your name here).” So, what about the money changers? See #2.
2) Use the church to hurt people. For the most part, Jesus practiced Dudism. That man could abide. However, there were a few times when he seemed to get more than a bit worked up (most notably, with the money changers in the temple grounds). What could take this chill, peace-loving, Jewish-hippie from 0 to 60 in the flip of a switch? Using an institution whose primary goal is meant to be love to hurt people. (It’s important to note that while you might describe Jesus as aggressive in the temple grounds with the money changers, even then he was not physically violent toward people).
1) Hate. The one possible exception might be “hate” itself but even then hate breeds hate, so best to avoid it.

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Touch

Do you remember the story of the  woman who came up to Jesus in a crowd and touched him?*

Now because of her medical condition, this woman should not even been aloowed out in public – according to the law of her day

And it was certainly against the law of her time for her to touch anyone. That did not matter to Jesus, and, obviously, that did not matter to the woman. Jesus used the same words with the woman as he used with other healed persons: “Your faith has made you well”

There is however the interesting reversal of the direction of the action in this healing story. Many times Jesus touched others. Here, another person touches Jesus. The initiation of the healing process is backwards, but it works anyway. Her faith made her well. Her faith saved her. She, like all the others who were healed, went in peace and she was healed. As the old King James Bible put it, she was “made whole.”

How strange it is that Jesus’ healing touch and healing presence worked as well in reverse as in drive!

Touch is so important in healing, and yet how sensitive many people are to touch. Back in the 60’s and early 70’s there was a great deal of touching and hugging going on. Close community ties and a strong sense of togetherness marked the peace movement. “Make love, not war,” was a favourite chant of the times. Those were touchy-feely times in more ways than one.

The past two decades have nearly seen an end to touching. If a secretary is touched by her boss, she might file a sexual harassment charge against him. Teachers are told again and again not to touch the youngsters in their charge. There are good reasons for this, but when it comes to the point that a primary school teacher cannot hug one of her pupils when he or she has fallen in the playground and is crying in distress and pain, something is wrong.

It can be difficult sometimes – especially when so many of our actions can be misconstrued or misinterpreted.

When I was a Hospital Chaplain, I once came across an elderly female patient  in one of the four-bedded Infirmary wards.  This lady had something wrong with her leg – that’s why she was in hospital.  After chatting to her for a few minutes, she asked me to pray for her.  I put my hand on her shoulder, and said a brief prayer.  At the end of it, she thanked me for my words– but said ‘It would have been better though if you’d put your hand on my leg”

No way!

Why?

Because hugs and touchings of any kind, seem so out of place today in our litigious society.  Yet, if the touching stops, we must ask ourselves if the healing will also stop – if the wholeness will also stop – if the faith will also stop, and if we will no longer be able to find a way to go forth into this world in peace.

Healing, restoration, wholeness, both physical and spiritual, all are contained in the meaning of the words that Jesus spoke that day, but probably none of the above would have marked that day if someone had not reached out and touched someone else.

 

*  Mark 5:25-34

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

25 In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse.

27 The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. 28 She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” 29 As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well.

30 At that moment Jesus felt power go out from him. He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 His disciples said to him, “Look at all these people crowding around you! How can you ask who touched you?” 32 But Jesus turned to see who had touched him.

33 The woman knew what had happened to her. She came shaking with fear and knelt down in front of Jesus. Then she told him the whole story.

34 Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”

 

270px-Healing_of_a_bleeding_women_Marcellinus-Peter-Catacomb

Healing_of_a_bleeding_women_Marcellinus-Peter-Catacomb

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Lourdes

A Hibs fan was leaving the Fester Road ground after a game, when he was knocked down by an Edinburgh Lothian bus (ironically painted maroon and cream).

He suffered multiple injuries and after a long spell in hospital, was discharged – but with his legs badly mangled, forcing him to walk on crutches.

His pals had a whip round and bought him a ticket to Lourdes in an attempt to heal his poor legs and, literally, get him back on his feet again.

In Lourdes, he was gently lowered into a pool that was said to have healing qualities.

Suddenly, the water started to foam and bubble, rise and fall with waves crashing all over him.  And out of the tumult, a VOICE spoke.

It was the Almighty himself.

“Can you fix my legs, Loving Father?” asked our Hibbie friend.  “Can you get me on my feet again, Lord?”

There was a pause.  Then the VOICE spoke, “My son, your legs are beyond repair; I cannot do anything….. but  I can grant you a wish instead”

The invalid responded, “Can you let the Hibs win the Cup – it’s been 102 years now since we lifted it?”

Silence…..

then: “Let me have another look at your legs” 

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When Jesus Healed a Same-Sex Partner

Jay Michaelson

Author, ‘God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality’

In this year’s battles over same-sex marriage (there are referenda on the issue in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, and Washington), opponents have tried to depict the issue as a choice between traditional religious values and some sinister homosexual agenda, between God and gay. In fact, a vote for same-sex marriage is a vote for traditional religious values, such as the importance of companionship (Genesis 2:18) or civil justice (Deuteronomy 16:20), and the value that “love” isn’t whatever we say it is but that movement of the heart that is patient, kind, and humble (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).

But, some people argue, what about the fact that the only sanctioned relationship in the Bible is between a man and a woman? Well, in fact, that’s not quite the case. The story of the faithful centurion, told in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10, is about a Roman centurion who comes to Jesus and begs that Jesus heal his pais, a word sometimes translated as “servant.” Jesus agrees and says he will come to the centurion’s home, but the centurion says that he does not deserve to have Jesus under his roof, and he has faith that if Jesus even utters a word of healing, the healing will be accomplished. Jesus praises the faith of the centurion, and the pais is healed. This tale illustrates the power and importance of faith, and how anyone can possess it. The centurion is not a Jew, yet he has faith in Jesus and is rewarded.

But pais does not mean “servant.” It means “lover.” In Thucydides, in Plutarch, in countless Greek sources, and according to leading Greek scholar Kenneth Dover, pais refers to the junior partner in a same-sex relationship. Now, this is not exactly a marriage of equals. An erastes-pais relationship generally consisted of a somewhat older man, usually a soldier between the ages of 18 and 30, and a younger adolescent, usually between the ages of 13 and 18. Sometimes that adolescent was a slave, as seems to be the case here. It would be inappropriate, in my view, to use the word “gay” to describe such a relationship; that word, and its many connotations, comes from our time, not that of Ancient Greece and Rome. This is not a relationship that any LGBT activist would want to promote today.

However, it is a same-sex relationship nonetheless. (It is also basically the same as the soldier/armor-bearer in the model of David and Jonathan, which I’ll explore in a future article.) And what is Jesus’s response? Does he spit in the centurion’s face for daring to suggest that he heal the soldier’s lover? Hardly. He recognizes the relationship and performs an act of grace.

Now, could pais really just mean “servant”? There are several reasons why this makes no sense. First, one would not expect a Roman centurion to intercede, let alone “beg” (parakaloon), on behalf of a mere servant or slave. Second, while Luke refers to the young man as a doulos (slave), the centurion himself specifically calls him a pais; this strongly suggests that the distinction is important. Third, we know that the erastes-pais intimate relationship was common practice among Roman soldiers, who were not allowed to take wives, and whose life was patterned on the Greek model of soldier-lovers. If pais just means “servant,” none of this makes any sense.

If I and dozens of other scholars (some of whom are listed below) are correct, this is a radical act. Jesus is extending his hand not only to the centurion but to his partner, as well. In addition to Jesus’ silence on homosexuality in general (he never mentions same-sex intimacy, not once, despite its prevalence in his social context), it speaks volumes that he did not hesitate to heal a Roman’s likely same-sex lover. Like his willingness to include former prostitutes in his close circle, Jesus’ engagement with those whose conduct might offend sexual mores even today is a statement of radical inclusion, and of his own priorities for the spiritual life.

It also sets up a useful distinction for those who may be struggling with same-sex marriage as a religious act, but who nonetheless want their gay and lesbian family members, friends, and community members not to be discriminated against. Jesus is not conducting a same-sex marriage here. Yet he is recognizing a socially accepted same-sex relationship. Likewise, Christians and Jews today who may not be ready to celebrate same-sex weddings in their own churches and synagogues can and should endorse civil marriage equality in the public sphere. In a very different context, this is exactly what Jesus did 2,000 years ago.


interesting exegesis (Meenister)

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