Yearning for the one who heals
You would think, on the face of it, that a sermon series on healing might be met with a collective shrug. We live in an age where mortality rates are plummeting lower and lower and life expectancy climbs higher and higher as medicine advances. And those medical advances can be astounding, verging on the miraculous. I read somewhere the other day that there may well have been found a cure for Ebola, the disease that has until now struck fear in the worldwide community with the double threat of no cure and high fatality rates. Not long before that I watched a video of a young woman who was hooked up to an implant that allowed her to see for the first time. Her wonder and joy was contagious. This is a unique time, where healing is part of the milieu of our society, when once it was not. Yet, despite how much healing we see through medicine and technology, there has been a tremendous response to this series. Just last weekend, many responded to Next Steps Director Julie Hawkins’ encouragement in her sermon to boldly and specifically pray the “impossible” prayers. In those responses there was a palpable sense of need.
One of the things I’ve really appreciated about this series is the recognition that we are whole people, with bodies and souls, that inward part of us that includes our thoughts, emotions, and our decision-making capacity. Even if we worry less and less about the immediate danger of a broken and fallen creation as evidenced in disease and injury, we see in greater relief the brokenness of our inner world. Regardless of the seeming daily reports of astounding medical discoveries or technological breakthroughs, we’re keenly aware of increasing rates of mental illness and general spiritual malaise. On this point, the hope and desire for inner healing has been just as robust as that of physical healing.
So it seems that despite what healing we have access to in our world, as grand and as wonderful as it may be, there is still a need to be made whole, inside and out. I’m grateful to God for what medical advances and technology we have available to us, but it seems there is still a yearning, in some cases desperate, for wholeness.
Scripture has plenty of things to say about healing, but it is fitting to me that we’ve focused our attention on the narratives of the Gospel of Mark to explore the topic. A series on healing could have been about the how of healing, or the what, but we have been focusing more on the who. Who heals? Ultimately and truly? Who knows about our desperate yearnings?
Providing a “what” or “how” answer to our yearnings for wholeness might have sufficed, but I’m afraid another method or a bit of education would have been lost in the tidal wave of methods and education we already have available to us. Instead, isn’t it so much better that we’ve been introduced (or maybe re-introduced) to the Healer? For all that we know and enjoy in our time of modern miracles, we still need to find our wholeness, body and soul, in the person of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Larry Hackman