I spent yesterday morning at a Lenten Quiet Day at my new church, St. James Episcopal
in Marietta, GA. We started off with Morning Prayer, chanting the psalms and canticles (Anglican chant style) with one of the priests playing the church's original organ, which is now in the chapel (which was built in 1878)
. This pipe organ was part of the original church building and was thrown out in the street by the Yankees during the Civil War when they commandeered the church to use as a hospital for wounded soldiers. The organ was rescued by a St. James parishioner and was later restored. Note that I am able to relate this story without using the phrase “damn Yankees,” which shows admirable restraint on my part. :o)
The Lenten Quiet Day also included sessions of Centering Prayer, as well as walking the Labyrinth. I spent some quiet time re-reading some of the healing miracles of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark that we read earlier this year in the online group Lectio Divina
. It was a very wonderful and spiritually enriching morning.Reflections on Two Healings in the Gospel of Mark
Mark 5:25-34, New King James Version:Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”
Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
In this passage we see God’s healing power flowing through Jesus. Jesus was so open to being a channel of healing that it happened automatically, even when he was not consciously healing someone. This woman simply touched the hem of his garment and she was healed. She had faith that God’s healing power would flow through Jesus and into her body, making her whole.
Jesus called her out, to make public acknowledgement of her healing. Because of her medical condition she had been deemed “unclean,” an outcast, by the religious authorities of her day. Jesus called her “daughter,” letting her – and the crowd – know that she was not an outcast but part of the family of God.
Mark 8:22-25, New King James Version:Then He [Jesus] came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”
Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
In this passage we see that healing sometimes happens in stages. The first time Jesus laid hands on the blind man, God’s healing power flowed through Jesus and the man’s eyesight was improved. But the healing was not complete. More than one prayer, more than one laying-on-of-hands, was needed.
If our healing doesn’t happen all at once, it can be discouraging. But the Gospels invite us to be patient, to trust that our healing will happen in God’s time. Even if it seems like nothing is happening when we pray, we can still be confident that God’s healing power is at work in our lives.