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Healing the World

By faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.  Acts 3:16


When Peter and John heal a man lame from birth in Acts 3, so that he can stand and walk, the first of many healing stories in the book of Acts, we are supposed to notice how similar this is to one of Jesus’ healing stories (Luke 5:17-26).  The point seems to be the post-Easter, post-Pentecost church could do surprising, life-giving, world-changing things, like Jesus, because the spirit of the Lord was upon them.

Most of us probably don’t have that gift of healing.  I know I do not. 

The New Testament’s healing stories can be challenging to make sense of, whether we are left wondering why “healing” seems so slow in coming for the ones we dearly love or what we are missing that we don’t seem to have the same healing abilities as the early church. Apart from questions of “how did Jesus heal?”, it helps to notice that when he healed, Jesus made it possible for people to lead satisfying, fulfilling lives, fully part of their communities.  In the book of Acts, the early church did that too.

Because the spirit of the Lord is upon us, every bit as much as it was upon Peter and John and their contemporaries, the good news is we can do that too.  But it might not look like “healing” people in the way healing happens in the gospels or book of Acts.

In part, it might look like fixing a broken world, in Jesus’ name, abandoning assumptions that hurt and diminish people, honoring differences among us, removing obstacles and revamping old ideas that disable, handicap, and sideline our siblings.

In worship last Sunday, we heard a beautiful example of this as our friends at Mosaic in Delaware talked about their work accompanying people with intellectual and developmental differences, helping them accomplish personal goals toward creating meaningful and satisfying lives for themselves. 

When the world finally is as God would have it be, we won’t be a race of superhumans, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, with x-ray vision and perfect hearing. Rather, we will be a community of deeply compassionate people, as aware of our vulnerabilities and limitations as we are of our strengths, fully committed to each other’s well-being.

On that day, the Risen Christ will both lead us and be fully embodied in us.

May God make it so!

With Easter hope,

Pastor Sue


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