Articles from the Synod Healing Advisers

Whenever we come into the presence of God, we are being healed – made whole. Remember the woman touching Jesus' coat? She was healed simply by touching Jesus. Some years ago, a statement from the British Medical Association reminded us that: 'People are body, mind and spirit, and health depends on the harmonious functioning of the whole, the task of medicine and the church are inseparable ...'

Healing is whatever works to bring about growth towards our becoming a whole person. Healing is NOT a magical cure. Personally, I am horrified by some of the performances across the Atlantic. Some of these involve high profile personalities in an almost cult-like setting, and offer something more like magical thinking than encouraging development of the whole person. Healing involves coming alongside a person with compassion, and compassion means suffering their pain ...

Remember the story of Jesus and the paralysed man? The one in which his friends made a hole in the roof? The paralysed man is a reject. For most of his life, he has been condemned by the religious folk. He is different, he is an outcast, and obviously he is being punished by God for his sins and that is why he is paralysed! He wasn't even allowed to get into the house where Jesus was!

When his friends had the audacity to make a hole in the roof and lower him down, what happens? Everyone looks and sees a cripple. Everyone except Jesus, that is. Jesus sees a person, made in God's image. Jesus sees that the man is (quite literally) screwed up with guilt - crippled with guilt. Does Jesus tell him to repent? Certainly not. Jesus quite simply tells him he is forgiven. Forgiven for everything ... Much to the anger of the religious folk. Don't religious folk always want to get people jumping through nice religious hoops? Then Jesus tells the man to get up and go. No religious stuff at all.

Jesus doesn't go through any motions, he doesn't even touch the man. But he does have compassion for him, and he obviously accepts him with a total undemanding love. Jesus accepts him just as he is. And that is healing.

Healing is far broader and wider – and more important – than we often realise. In Britain today, we sit in a melting pot of nations. We have a most wonderful opportunity to discover our brothers and sisters from another culture, and to learn from them. And yes, that does mean people who hold different belief systems from ours.

Barry Drake - East Midlands Synod
October 2009