Thursday, March 30, 2006
I went to lunch with my former minister on Wednesday. It was really wonderful to see him. We have barely spoken since I left my old church and I have missed our conversations. Was it coincidence that when I pulled up to the church, I noticed that his sermon this Sunday is going to be on Jesus' healings? I think not! LOL.
The Jesus Seminar, that strange body of uber-deconstructionist Jesus scholars, insists that the healings are mythology. Any mention of miracles was assumed to be fiction in their voting process. But there are so many of them mentioned... in ALL the gospels, I simply cannot believe that SOMETHING didn't happen.
I have just finished John, and there are some interesting healing stories in it. One, in particular, struck me. Jesus heals a blind man by spitting into his hand and rubbing some dirt with it to create mud. This he then applies to the man's eyes and the man can see. Now, in many healing stories, Jesus simply says something... like "your faith has healed you" or "get up and walk". So why, in this case, the mud poultice? Why did he use his saliva and earth? I wonder what the significance of that is.
Here's another thought... in most of the healing stories, Jesus proclaims that the person is forgiven for their sins. He is, in effect, baptizing them. The drama of the physical healing is the most evident aspect in the narrative... but having experienced baptism, I can attest to the fact that the baptism itself is just the beginning of the true healing process. It is the starting gate... and from there, the experience builds and picks up momentum. The gospels don't describe that much. Jesus' ministry was too short, perhaps... or the writers were going for the most dramatic elements. But in the book of Acts and the Pauline letters you do get to see the transformation take place... in Paul and in others. The healing that goes so far beyond the initial, dramatic, moment. You see it with Peter, who goes from a kind of bumbling but well intentioned disciple, to an amazing minister and martyr. (A profoundly moving death...)
One of the phrases I love the most from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer is "Say the word only and my soul shall be healed".
What is astonishing is that He has already said the word.
Thank you, Beloved.