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Thinking Out Loud

Share the Healing

by Michael Jinkins | Jul 20, 2015

Mike MatherBY MICHAEL MATHER

Today’s blog post is guest-written by the Rev. Michael Mather, pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, and author of Sharing Stories Shaping Community: Vital Ministry in the Small Membership Church (Discipleship Resources, 2002).

The last year has made clear the violence, abuse and trauma in the lives of the people of our nation.  

Fifteen years ago in my parish in South Bend, Indiana, I dealt with two cases of domestic abuse in one weekend. The next Monday, I went to a clergy meeting, where I asked my colleagues how they handled such things. Their response was, "It never comes up." We are too often blind to it all around us.

One Sunday at my current parish, Broadway United Methodist Church, the poet Mari Evans spoke in worship about “Shattering the Silence.” (You can hear her remarks at http://goo.gl/GBjqlH).

Mari challenged us to pay attention to one another. She talked about finding out that her son was sexually abused as a child by an adult female relative. This news came just two months before Mari’s son died at age 58. I have heard Mari speak about this publicly three times. Each time, her story has challenged me to really pay attention to what is going on in the lives of folks around me.

A few of us from our parish visited Dr. John Rich at Drexel University. Dr. Rich worked as a physician in an inner city hospital where he was seeing young African American men (who looked like him), who had been shot and stabbed. He hired them to be “community health advocates” for a program he initiated called the Men's HealthCREW, a program to train inner city young men to become peer health educators who focus on the health of men and boys in their communities. As a result he won the MacArthur Genius Grant. When we visited with Dr. Rich, he asked us two simple questions that were beautiful in their simplicity and that have stayed with me over the past couple of years. First, he asked, "Who are the healers in your community?" Next, he asked, "How do you support the healers?"  

Healing is present in the midst of the disease, illness, brokenness, violation, pain and evil. The healers are often the ones who have come through "many dangers, toils and snares."  

A parishioner wrote me last week and shared a liturgy she was writing as a part of reaching for and recognizing God’s healing in her life. I think of the passage from the Gospel of Mark where people were coming to Jesus "begging to touch the hem of his garment.” When we recognize in our lives that level of hunger and thirst for healing that this represents, then our eyes become open, I believe, to the healing that is present.

Today I write my liturgy of healing.

I begin with God.

God of love and light,
I ask for liberation.
Freedom to live in and celebrate
Love.

God of Resurrection,
On the night Jesus prayed in the Garden,
He cried out to you.

I cry out to you:
Forgive my sin of self-denial;
Forgive my sin of grasping,
clinging, holding on
to pain in place of peace
of physical pleasure
in place of whole life-living love.

Like Jesus, I have asked that
You take this cup from my lips.
It remains.

I am the woman with the issue of blood.
I seek only to touch the hem of the garment.
I seek only to be healed.
God, I seek healing.

There is a pain - a shadow - that
from age 6 has haunted me.
Though I bear no physical scars
my heart and soul still ache
for a way to feel whole
having been broken.

I give the brokenness to you Dear God.
I give the pain, the shame, the self-doubt,
the feelings of nothingness – victimization - to you.

I release myself to the faith that I hold dear.
I ask that you will grant this simple prayer
that I be
healed/freed/liberated/delivered
to know/show/share
love in all of its facets
free from the pain of the past,
free to welcome and experience joy in the present,
free to welcome and experience joy in the future.

On the promise of the cross, I come to you
believing in the promise of resurrection.

Amen.


We see the healing when we invite those who have suffered and are suffering to name their own healing, their own desire for it. We support the healers when we share it with others. That's where the healing begins to multiply, because we can see it at work.

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