Healing

Sermon : Healing

With great humility and vulnerability my sermon manuscript for Sunday 2/12/2012.

Gospel Text: Mark 1:40-45

Grace to you and peace from God our Father in heaven and our savior Jesus Christ.

Over the past few weeks we have heard of Christ’s power and authority in creation.  Last week, we read that Jesus has the power to remove unclean spirits and today we read that Jesus heals a man with a skin disease. If we pull these healing stories together, we get an interesting perspective. Jesus is able to heal the brokenness of humanity both inside and outside our bodies…

In these first few verses of Marks Gospel we see that Christ is the ultimate doctor, healing people with all sorts of infirmities… People from all around come and fall at the feet of Jesus begging to taste freedom from their ailments… some just want to touch the hem of his outer rob… so that they will be made whole…

The part of this gospel text that grabs my heart… is verse 41… Jesus says… I do choose…Be made clean….  be made whole again…  and the man was made whole, his skin was healed… Jesus tells the man to be silent, present himself to the temple and be made officially clean… but the man goes off screaming and yelling I AM HEALED…. I AM HEALED…. Telling everyone he met… Proclaiming Freely the author writes… Many in Jesus time viewed him as a great healer…

This is the same for God’s people today…  Many people are drawn to these passages to connect that Jesus healed people of infirmities… the blind made to see, the paralyzed walk freely, the sick are made whole… which must mean… that Jesus can still heal today…

A few years ago, as a hospital chaplain and even today as pastor, I have prayed and read these same passages with hundreds of people… and the honest truth is… I don’t know why two people with the same disease, praying the same prayer and one lives and one dies … I don’t know how I watched a 21 year old who had been shot in the head…. survive… and 35 year old who came in with a bad cold… within days die… I can’t explain it… but I do NOT believe Jesus walks through the halls of the hospital and saying I choose… I don’t… I choose… I don’t… I can’t fathom that the Jesus that I read about in scripture and the God that I worship could ever say eenie minie moe you win… and you lose…

(Breath)

What I do know is God is abounding in steadfast love… God is full of forgiveness and peace… God’s cup over flows with grace and hope… not full of who lives and who dies… The nature of our brokenness is that until the lord comes again we will all die… ashes to ashes and dust to dust… But that is not to say that God’s Spirit isn’t alive and free… If we look closely and carefully at our world we can see that God does work in mysterious ways… the heart transplant comes in just in time… the eyes of one who died in a car wreck will let a blind person see… The bone marrow from a dying child can heal a new mother… miracles happen all the time in hospitals… Doctors and all health professionals are the hands that reach out each day as an extension of the hands of Christ… working to bring healing to a fallen failing world… but if we stop reading here… we will only become depressed waiting for our ticket to be punched… waiting for our frail failing bodies to breath their last.

And so we must read on…

We read on and see that Jesus is an amazing healer but his healing goes a bit deeper than a flesh wound… Jesus came into this world… to save the world from its death… not death like we know it… but a death that is totally separated from God… Jesus’ ministry was to fulfill scripture… which took him from healing, preaching and teaching to the roman cross… and because of the horrific cross we are blessed with the glorious empty tomb… and because of that mighty act of God raising Christ from the dead… God broke the bondage that sin held over  creation and Jesus is able… in the his surrendering of his life… he is able… to freely give LIFE…to heal that which no doctor could ever mend… the sin and brokenness that we have as fallen creatures…

The question remains for us…. what do we do with the healing we have received… what do we do with the forgiveness that God has blessed us with… Do we silently approach the temple to let the pastors know the cancer is in remission… do we quietly celebrate when a long lost friend is found… do we quietly forgive as we have been forgiven… If we model our lives after those we read about in scripture… then when we fall down at the feet of our lord… and we cry out IF YOU CHOOSE LORD… IF YOU CHOOSE TO HELP, SAVE or FORGIVE me… and when we receive it… then we must proclaim it freely… we must tell all we meet along our path…

What a gift we have… what a testimony to share… to let the world around us know that we have been blessed and tended to by a God we cannot see… and if healing help doesn’t come… and the cancer does come back… then we lean on the promise we receive in our baptism into Christ… that we are made one with God… neither death nor life… can separate us from God… so even if we lose our fight and finish the race with our sin infested bodies… we still win the crown of righteousness…

 God still loves us and we receive a hero’s welcome in heaven… Saint Paul writes to the church in Rome, whether we live or whether we die… we are the Lords… even if the healing never comes… ultimate wholeness and healing will always be resting with our God…

Thanks be to God who says I do Choose !!!

 

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