â€œLift the heavy heart that holds me down.â€
Lent 5 Common Lectionary Year C
Â©2013 Rev Elisabeth R. Jones
Healing Service Meditation.
The professional advantage of having been for a nearly twenty years, a historian of the way Christian communities read, interpret and live with the Bible, is that I have had to read it â€“ the Bible – a lot! This cumulative exposure to both Old and New Testaments has led me to conclusion that I find curious: God is a Healer. God is many things, but at heart, God is a Healer. At heart.Â Â Godâ€™s ongoing participation in creation is born out of a dream, a yearning a longing to mend, to restore, to give life back, to heal. Healing for God is about love, hope, possibility, renewal. Healing for God is rescuing the lost, the threatened, the oppressed. God heals relationships by bringing back home the wanderers, the rebels, the angry, the forsaken. God heals by forgivingÂ wrongs that people have done that they cannot themselves forgive. God heals by challenging the comfortably numb and the spiritually lazy to a closer participation in Godâ€™s redemptive, healing of creation. God heals the earth through seasons of birth, death and rebirth. In all of this activity of God beats a heart that longs to heal.
I donâ€™t know where we lost track of this dominant character trait of God. I donâ€™t know why so many of us have edited ourselves out of Godâ€™s healing activity; as if God only healed â€œback in Bible daysâ€ not now. Or have we convinced ourselves that weâ€™re not worthy, or that others are more in need of Godâ€™s healing? – as if God only has a finite, limited supply of healing to give? Perhaps weâ€™re a bit freaked out by this â€˜spiritualâ€™ talk of healing,Â not sure if itâ€™s reallyÂ what we Christians should do. But if God is, and ever was and shall be, at heart, a Healerâ€¦.? Well then.
Perhaps we can, for the next few moments, take the words of the psalmist and the prophet, and a line from the anthem for today,Â and ask God to â€œheal the heavy heart that holds us down.â€
To do that with 100 of you is not the quite same as happens in a healingÂ pathway session with one person! So our pathway-making will involve words to guide your healing journey, silence, and only one image on the screen, so that most of you can close your eyes in order to better inhabit that personal space where you and God can connect heart- to â€“ heart.
Guided meditation begins. Let me invite you to ground yourself once again, feet on the ground,â€¦. hands resting empty and open on your lap,â€¦.. when youâ€™re ready,Â fill your eyes with light, and then close them, as if capturing light and bringing it into your body.
If closing your eyes is not helpful, settle your gaze ever so gently on the candle flame, or the image above. â€¦â€¦ Become aware of your breath slowing and settling, drawing deeply, filling your lungs with energy, â€¦â€¦â€¦. renewing your blood with oxygen,â€¦â€¦â€¦. settling your heart into attentiveness, and openness. â€¦â€¦.. Feel your heartbeat, imagine it as the echo of the heartbeat of God. The divine heart that longs to heal. Imagine its relentless, rhythmic gift of life of warmth, of flowing blood that heals, and cleanses restores, and renews. Godâ€™s heart and yours. Healingâ€¦..
Imagine now a burden that weighs upon your heart. Be gentle with yourself, donâ€™t lift more than you can manage in this moment. But imagine that burden an illness that holds you back from hope or possibility Â a grief that is slow to heal Â a sadness of soul, or heart, Â an anger that gnaws at your peace a fear that numbs or chills, or leaves you frightenedâ€¦. Imagine that burdenâ€¦. imagine it not only on your heart, but on the heart of God. â€¦â€¦..
Imagine the strength and warmth of the heart of the Universe, light against the darkness,â€¦. warmth against the coldnessâ€¦.., pulsing with life against the deadness of your burden.
Imagine the heart of God melting your burden like the warm sun melts the ice-locked river,â€¦â€¦. melts the snow-bound field,â€¦â€¦ melts the snow-blocked pathway.
WatchÂ and feel in your body and soul, as God, who is light, and life, golden and warm, strong and gentle, lifts the heavy heart that holds you down.
Feel it in your bones, this warmth, this light of Godâ€¦â€¦ Feel Godâ€™s breathÂ fill your lungs,â€¦.. Feel Godâ€™s strength release the tension your shoulders,â€¦â€¦ Feel Godâ€™s gentleness caress your furrowed browâ€¦.. Feel the warmth and light of God thaw you to your fingers and toes, now pulsing with potential, twitching to move forward, onward, to face into the fear, to hold the grief more gently, to soothe the sadness, to contain the reach of the illness. â€¦â€¦
Ask your body to move, stretch your back, fill your lungs, unwrinkle your fingers, roll your shouldersâ€¦ as your heart, and the Heart of God together let the healing flow within you.
Nowâ€¦ feel the light of Godâ€™s love touch your eyes, and when youâ€™re ready, open them, let them bring you back into this company of Godâ€™s healed and healing people.