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Epiphany 6B 2012

Reflections on Healing Then and Now
(2 Kings 5:1-14)

by Rev. Elisabeth R. Jones

This tale of the curing of Naaman begs for a dramatic reading, and I want to thank our HP ministry team for being so willing to indulge!
It’s a multi-layered text well worth a sermon in its own right, but for today’s focus on the biblical phenomenon of healing, I’d like to lift up a few key elements of the Biblical story
so that we can then see how they play out in today’s experiences of the ministry of healing
in our own UCC.

Naaman – the Mighty Warrior! – was a foreigner.
This means that he did not know Yahweh, the God of Israel.
He had no parameters for knowing what to expect,
just a desire to be made whole – which leads to great theatre as he went charging pompously off in all directions looking for someone powerful enough to cure him!

Elisha is remarkably ‘hands-off’ and low key.
Didn’t move a muscle, didn’t utter a word, not just in our dramatic reading, but in the Biblical text either.
He just sent messages to set people in the right direction, putting them where they needed to be for God to work.
Elisha trusted the process, and trusted the character of God,
who, we are coming to discover, does not stand idly by when someone is seeking wholeness.

How does this play out in our own world?
Even though ours is a very different context than the Biblical one,
where scientific knowledge can sometimes be the barrier to our openness to God healing in non-mechanical, non-surgical, or non-chemical ways, sometimes the desire for ‘wholeness’ and for peace opens a pathway.

Listen to John and Didi’s story of their first encounter with Healing Pathway ministry.

DIDI – Good morning, my name is Didi and this is my husband, John.
Our full introduction to Healing Pathways, took place Easter Week, 2010 at St Mary’s Hospital, where John was admitted with COPD and signs of congestive heart failure.

JOHN – Didi stayed close throughout the week I was hospitalized. On the day before I was to leave St. Mary’s, I had a visitor, Sharon Moon. She swept into the hospital room and immediately plunged into a conversation which was entertaining and uplifting. You could not help but feel better after such a visit. The time came for Sharon’s visit to end, we asked for a prayer. “Certainly,” said Sharon, “but I think we could do something more; how about a Healing Pathways treatment?”

DIDI – We had heard about this program at Cedar Park, but had not considered getting involved. We found out, very early in our time at the church, that there was more in which to involve ourselves than we could possibly manage. Healing Pathways was something we could research… later. Fortunately, the program came to us in the person of our minister.
Sharon briefed us on what was entailed in a treatment. John said ”Yes”.
Sharon assured the patient in the next bed that there would be no black magic or witchcraft going on, she also convinced his Irish-Catholic nurse that she, Sharon, was a United Church minister and that no hanky-panky would take place. A black orderly, fresh from Haiti, passing the doorway, thought there might be some voodoo involved, but Sharon convinced him otherwise.

JOHN – On Sharon’s instructions I closed my eyes, laid back on the bed and relaxed. The treatment progressed and when I awoke a calmness prevailed through my whole being, and I had a distinct feeling that I had been energized spiritually. There was no question the treatment helped prepare me for my return home.
The next Sunday, back at church, Pat Jones followed up and for the next month I received weekly Healing Pathway treatments, which proved to be very beneficial to my health and well-being and speeded my recovery.

DIDI – John felt more comfortable having a driver during the following month, and I was happy to take him back and forth to the church for the treatments.
Instead of sitting outside the door and waiting for him, it was suggested that I might like a treatment too, and so I joined John, little knowing how much calmness and peace these hours would bring into our lives.
Since that time, whenever John, or we both, in any way feel our health threatened, we book time with the Healing Pathways.

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Back to Naaman again for a moment:
After his tantrum, he opened himself to possibility.
Faith or conviction are not evident,
simply openness to possibility.
He took himself off to the Jordan, and by washing seven times
(a number signifying wholeheartedness, completion,
and God’s creative rhythm),
he became involved in his own healing journey.
Not passive, not expecting a lightning bolt, but rather,
simply ‘salving’ his skin in nature’s life forces,
he became a partner with the Life-Giver, God,
in his own healing journey.

Listen to Cathie Weldon’s own journey into partnership with God’s healing power.

For me, life itself is a Healing Pathway. As I venture down the winding road that is my life, I try, as I move along, to engage in things to help me to be and to stay – well, in body, mind and spirit.

Music is a very important pit stop along my own personal Healing Pathway – grounding me and lifting me at the same time!

A little over a year ago, I was drawn to Cedar Park Church by the music ministry – by stories of Douglas’ wonderful talent for sharing music through his patience, humour and joy….and wanting to be part of that.

I quickly became engaged in the energy that is Cedar Park Church.

I had heard about the Healing Pathway ministry, been present at last year’s Healing Service – but still had questions.

So – last June, when I was rushing around the house in bare feet and whacked my baby toe into the corner of the coffee table leg, it was almost inevitable that I would try to find out more about Healing Pathway – and how it might help. Especially since I couldn’t wedge my poor swollen foot into the new running shoes I had just bought for my impending trip to Europe!

Needless to say, I had already done all the requisite things one does after whacking one’s toe…I had cursed loudly, hobbled to the fridge for a bag of frozen peas, and elevated my foot. I even went to the clinic for an X-ray to rule out broken bones….there were none.

I then phoned Pat Jones and she invited me to come to the church for a treatment.

The Healing Pathway room was calm, quiet, restful….there was gentle music in the background…she had lit some candles….and I was lying on a comfortable pillow and tucked under a cosy blanket on the treatment table. Already I felt better.

The healing session allowed me, first of all, time to reflect on what was going on in my body – and in my life. I recognized that it had been a stupid, unnecessary accident – and was perhaps a signal to me to slow down and pay more attention in my life.

Pat worked on improving the energy flow in my body. I always imagine my energy pathways as little highways, sort of like a minute Highway 20 or 401….and I picture the energy as little cars travelling up and down these little highways. If there’s a traffic jam at any of the major intersections or main energy points in my body, then those little smart cars of energy can’t get through very well….and I won’t feel as good as I might.

So, in my mind, the Healing Pathway treatments help regulate the traffic and keep the energy flowing smoothly. By combining them with the other vital parts of my self-care regime -family, friends, music, church, nature, good food and exercise– I may be able to avoid some of the potholes along the Healing Pathway called my life. P.S. After the Healing Pathway treatments, I was able, by late June, to walk around Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Munich pain-free, in my new running shoes.  “TRAVELLING THE HEALING PATHWAY” by Cathie Weldon – Feb. 12/12

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Healing in the Christian tradition is grounded first and foremost in the compassionate, healing love of the Divine, of God.
Jesus’ healing ministry was an embodied expression or channeling of this God-love.
In his ministry and in contemporary Christian healing ministry,
healing is not to be understood as synonymous with “cure” but something deeper still.
Within this mortal life, it is God’s characteristic desire to open us to the possibilities
of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wholeness, sometimes despite our ‘clinical’ condition.
To open ourselves, and to accompany others as they open a healing pathway
to the Heart of God, is to experience wholeness – shalom.
And that is God’s dream for us in this life, thanks be to God.
Amen.

© Elisabeth R. Jones        February 2012

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