Naming the Healing and the Healers
I thought of that time 15 years ago in my parish in South Bend where I dealt with two cases of domestic abuse in one weekend. I went to a United Methodist Clergy meeting the next Monday. I asked my colleagues how they handled such things. There response was "it never comes up." Last Sunday at Broadway Mari Evans spoke in worship about Shattering the Silence (you can hear her remarks here).
Mari challenged us to pay attention to one another. She talked about finding out that her son had been sexually abused as a child by an adult female relative, two months before he died at age 58. She has spoken about this publicly three times when I've been present. Each time it has challenged me to really pay attention to what is going on in the lives of folks around me.
Above is a photograph of Dr. John Rich who a few of us from our parish visited a couple of years ago. When we visited with Dr. Rich (winner of the MacArthur Genius Grant for his healing work) he asked us two simple questions that were beautiful in their simplicity and that have stayed with us over the past couple of years. First he asked "who are the healers?" And second he asked us "how do you support the healers?"
I thought of that over the last few weeks. And one of the things I began to realize is that the healing is present in the midst of the disease, illness, brokenness, violation, pain, and evil. That the healers are often the ones who have come through "many dangers, toils, and snares..."
A friend of mine wrote me last week and shared a liturgy she was writing as a part of reaching for and recognizing the healing of God in her life. I think of the passage from the Gospel of Mark that we read a few weeks ago in worship where Mark wrote that 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 there.
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
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
I am the woman with the issue of blood
I seek only to touch the hem of the garmet
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 aches
for a way to feel whole
having been broken
i give the brokeness to you Dear God
I give the pain, the shame, the self-doubt
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
love in all of it's 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
We name 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.