“Then everyone will know something is wrong,” came the brave response after I described how we could offer Sunday prayers for healing as parishioners returned to their pews after communion. The small group of members had been silent. I shared my idea that a clergy person and a Stephen Minister could stand at two stations in a quiet side aisle of the church to silently pray for healing with members who wished would participate. The group looked decidedly uncomfortable, and, I was puzzled. Then one brave person spoke up, “Then everyone will know something is wrong.”
I was saddened by the response. I realized that in this congregation it was more important to look good in church. Not that I did not know that before. The accomplishments of family and work along with the achievement of kids showed up in all sorts of ways. And yet, so did the activism of reaching those in need and forming the faith, especially for children and youth. However, to accomplish all this church goodness, the price was always looking good. Asking for healing and help in worship made people uncomfortable. “Then everyone will know something is wrong.”
Yes, something is wrong and not fully complete in the life God desires for us. That is why Love was born on Christmas and that is why in this Epiphany Season we look to the heavens to see the growing light of that Love. Something is wrong not just in our world and not just in our neighborhoods. Something is wrong, in other words not completely healed, in our lives. It can be sickness. It can be sadness. It can be struggles. It can be anxiety, real or imagined. It can be racial bias or someone’s filter that sees you person who you are not. There are thousands upon thousands of ways to say something is wrong. There is always something wrong and that does not make our lives wrong. Our lives can be brought together on their raw edges by Love. Our lives can grow in the Light that Love creates. We can feel those raw edges touch and then with the energy of healing those raw edges join together. In the name of Christ, we bring the healing energy to one another as we pray and gently lay hands on heads. We call into the moment God’s loving presence in the human presence praying with us.
We did go ahead with the healing stations following communion. The congregation was most comfortable with the clergy offering the healing. Perhaps someday they will grow so that both lay and ordained offer this prayer ministry. The first handful of brave souls who came for prayer grew over time. Understandably, some were regulars. Slowly, tenaciously, as individuals and as a parish, we practiced looking good and at the same time opening what is wrong in our lives to God.