Tag Archives: healing

O God of every nation

O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand;
where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us
and heal our strife-torn world.

From search for wealth and power
and scorn of truth and right,
from trust in bombs that shower
destruction through the night,
from pride of race and nation
and blindness to your way,
deliver every nation,
eternal God, we pray!

Lord, strengthen all who labor
that we may find release
from fear of rattling saber,
from dread of war’s increase;
when hope and courage falter,
your still small voice be heard;
with faith that none can alter,
your servants undergird.

Keep bright in us the vision
of days when war shall cease,
when hatred and division
give way to love and peace,
till dawns the morning glorious
when truth and justice reign
and Christ shall rule victorious
o’er all the world’s domain.

–Words: William Watkins Reid, Jr. (1923-2007)
–Tune: LLANGLOFFAN, melody from Hymnau a Thonau er Gwasanaeth yr Eglwys yng Nghymru, 1865 (Welsh hymn)

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Lenten Reflection – Day 25

This week’s RCL Gospel reading is the story of Jesus healing the blind man in John 9:1-41. In this story, Jesus disobeys the Jewish rules of the Sabbath and heals the blind man (Jews were not supposed to work on the Sabbath). The blind man goes and tells people that Jesus healed him, and people question the blind man about Jesus. Then, the Pharisees question the blind man about Jesus. A most interesting conversation takes place. The man can’t answer any of their questions, all he can say is that Jesus healed him and that he can now see.

This is perhaps one of the best known stories of the Gospels: Jesus healing the blind man. This story is rich with metaphor for the Christian experience. Experiencing the healing power of the grace of God in Jesus Christ is like first being blind and then being able to see. It completely changes one’s perspective on life. Once you’ve experienced that grace, you’ll never be the same again. You look at everything differently through the lens of grace.

What I find sad, though, is how few Christians seem to acknowledge this and live into this change in perspective every day. It is easy to become complacent, and forget just how things were before you first experienced that grace…before you first realized how being in communion with God truly enriched your life. That is why I think it is so important for us Christians to constantly challenge ourselves through service and prayer. We must continue to share the Good News to help others who are blind be able to see. We must challenge the status quo of our society and help push the moral arc of the universe to bend closer toward justice. Jesus wouldn’t have it any other way. Let us, inspired by Jesus, continue to heal the blind, and not forget to live into this every day!

PS: If you wish to listen to a more detailed discussion about this Gospel reading, I suggest listening to the Moonshine Jesus Show’s discussion from this past week.

Jesus heals the blind man

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Filed under My Favorites, New Testament, Reflections

Making a shrine of our wounds

Do you want to be made well? In the gospel reading for today’s lectionary cycle, we read the story of Jesus healing the man at the pool at Beth-zatha from John 5:1-9. In the sermon preached today at Washington National Cathedral, the Very Reverend Gary Hall (Dean of the Cathedral) reflects on the gospel vis-à-vis our culture of violence, and a conversation he had had with a few colleagues in the middle of an argument. He further reflects on what this might mean for each of us and for our society.

Here is an excerpt from Dean Hall’s powerful sermon:

As people, and as a society, I believe we have all made a shrine of the wound of violence in our human nature and in our world. In saying that, I do not intend in any way to disparage the victims of violence, or to suggest that they are somehow bringing it on themselves. I would never say that. But I do think that we seem to have accepted violence as a natural fact of life, and so we tolerate it, and we tolerate aggression much more than we should. One of the reasons I think we tolerate so much violence is that we are in denial about the depths of its roots in our being. …

Each of us carries the possibility of violence within our own heart. Only when we acknowledge that possibility; only when we accept that part of us that Jungians call the shadow, the part that we don’t want to acknowledge that it exists; only when we stop pretending that we are somehow better and purer than others; only then will we be able to be open to the healing that can happen when we acknowledge that we actually need it.

Do you want to be made well? That is Jesus’s question to the man by the pool at Beth-zatha, and that is Jesus’s question to you today. Do you want to be made well? Do you want socially to be made well? Do you want personally to be made well? Do you want your world? Your society? Your relationships? Even your body to be made well? If so, then start by seeing things as they really are. When I build a shrine to my old wound, I perpetrate the fiction that you are guilty and that I am innocent. But all of us are somewhat guilty, and none of us is perfectly innocent. Only as we accept the parts of ourselves that we would turn from and deny, only then will we be open to the healing that Jesus offers the man by the pool in our story, to our nation, to the world, and to you and me this morning.

Dean Hall continues by discussing what he might consider a good “summary” of the good news of the Gospel. He uses the collect of the day appointed for the sixth Sunday of Easter as good attempt at summarizing what the gospel is all about:

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire…

It is my prayer that each of us, those who are filled with love and faith, those of us who are filled with cynicism and anger, and especially those of us who have made shrines of our wounds, may be filled with such love towards God and towards each other that we may transform our world, one step at a time, into a world that overflows with caring, loving people. Hey, a guy can dream, right?

View Dean Hall’s sermon in its entirety here.

View the entire worship service from Washington National Cathedral on May 5, 2013 here.

The Rev. Canon Gary Hall, Dean of Washington National Cathedral.

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Filed under My Favorites, Sermons

A Celtic Blessing

On the day when the weight deadens
On your shoulders and you stumble,
May the clay dance to balance you.

And when your eyes freeze behind
The gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colors,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

–Adapted from: O’Donohue, John. Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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Filed under Prayers from Taizé