Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Cambridge God Adventure 25) A spiritual hand grenade

Earlier in the same month Ray was baptized I received a letter from Dorothy, one of my deacons.  It was a spiritual hand grenade thrown into our midst - she asked if I would arrange a service for healing.

In the previous summer she started having blackouts with falls - one of which fractured her ribs. Referred to hospital she learned an artery in her neck had become twisted and trapped by osteo-arthritis spasmodically cutting off blood supply leading to loss of consciousness.  The only remedy was a stiff surgical collar for the rest of her life.  But this was minor compared with spinal damage they found that meant increasingly strong pain-killers and, as a last resort, major surgery. Continuous pain drove her to write quoting James 5: 14-15: Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.

Grenades cause disturbance.  Why was I shaken?  Not because I didn't believe firmly in the ministry of healing. In my previous church I had practiced James' command often accompanied by sympathetic members of the church.  But I knew the whole subject of healing proved spiritually sensitive and stirred up some hostility. As one person put it: 'Some churches may practice that but its not what we do! Another commented how it attracts unbalanced people. raises expectations and causes disappointment.  Indeed, looking back on my experiences though many people shared how these healing services had helped them no-one experienced definite physical healing.  So, I guess the letter caused me feelings of inadequacy and anxiety too.

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