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HEALING, HOLDING, LETTING GO

Date: 
May 6, 2018
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Luke 13: 10-17

THEME: There is a time to heal… a time to hold… a time to let go.

 

INTRODUCTION

  • The eyes of Jesus were drawn to the woman who was so crippled that she was unable to stand up straight… she was bent over at the waist… she had been that way for eighteen years… imagine only being able to stare at the ground for so many, many years…
  • Even though it was the Sabbath, and even though Jesus knew it would upset the leaders of the synagogue who were out to discredit him, he laid his hands upon the woman and she was healed… she stood up straight immediately and began praising God for being healed.
  • Healing is such a beautiful word…
  • What comes to your mind when you think about healing?
    • Do you think of doctors, nurses, therapists, hospitals, and the science of medicine?
    • Do you think of the church and prayer or of shrines like Lourdes in southern France or St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec – with crutches and braces piled high as a testimony to the miraculous healings that have taken place there?
    • Do you think of “faith healers?”… I remember watching Oral Roberts on television when I was much younger… his power to heal always amazed me, but it also made me wonder – was he for real or was he preying upon people’s gullibility?
    • Do you think of the Lord Jesus Christ and the many miracles of healing he performed which are recorded for us in the gospels, especially in the Gospel of Luke? The blind received sight… the lame walked… lepers were made clean… and even the dead were raised to life.
    • Do you think of loved ones and friends – perhaps people of strong faith – who succumbed to a disease which claimed their lives in spite of the very best efforts of medical science? Do you remember praying for them and wondering why your prayers seemed to go unanswered?
  • A true story that I heard a number of years ago is still very fresh in my mind: A very active, faithful church member suddenly became gravely ill… as suggested in scripture (James 5:13-16,) the family invited the leaders of the church to come to their home to offer prayers for healing for their mother, a most gracious lady of faith…. They did come – the minister, several deacons, and others from the church… they laid their hands on her in prayer, but not too many days later the woman they all loved so dearly died. // One of the church members said to the woman’s daughter, “It’s too bad our prayers didn’t work.” // The daughter quickly responded, “The prayers did work… Mom was not cured, but she was healed?”  
  • Healing is such a beautiful word…
  • “Mom was not cured, but she was healed.”
  • The words healing and cured tend to be used interchangeably, but in reality, they mean two different things…
    • A patient that is disease-free is cured… curing is primarily the work of medical science.
    • Rather than implying freedom from disease, healing involves the idea of wholeness, wellness, soundness… to be healed is to be in a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being – being “all-together” // healing is the work of medical science, the church, prayer, faith, and the power of the Holy Spirit all working together.
    • The word, heal, traces its roots to the Anglo-Saxon word HAL <H-A-L> which means “whole,” “hale,” or “hearty.”  Healing is making the wounded whole.
    • It is possible to be both cured and healed… it is possible to be cured, but not healed… and it is possible to be healed, but not cured. “Mom was not cured, but she was healed.”
  • As I have visited with patients and their families in a variety of settings throughout my ministry, I’ve come to understand that there is a time to heal… a time to hold… and a time to let go.

 

A TIME TO HEAL

  • There is a time to heal…
  • I assume that most people who are sick want to be made well…
    • We have mistakenly equated health and wholeness as a sign of God’s presence – as a sign of being blessed
    • Some mistakenly believe that sickness is a symptom of sin or the result of not having enough faith…
    • I do not believe that God sends disease, pain, or suffering, but I do believe that God can bring healing through the hands and prayers of many…
    • I cannot explain why some people live long, long lives without suffering from anything greater than a hangnail and why others seem to face one health crisis after another…
    • I firmly believe that God is with us in our pain and suffering…
    • I firmly believe that God will never, ever turn away from us – never.
  • I believe that healing is part of God’s plan, but I am aware that God’s timetable is not always our timetable… though we’d like healing to be immediate, as it sometimes is, some healing takes place over the course of a long, long time, and some healing may take place only in the life to come…<Kepple>
  • Healing will come, if not in our time, then in His.
    • This thought helps me to understand why we sometimes think our prayers for healing go unanswered or why we are led to believe that our faith is inadequate…
    • Prayer doesn’t always work as we would like it to work…
    • I believe that God hears our prayers and that God may answer our prayers with one of three answers: “Yes!”… “No!”… “Wait!” … Waiting is never easy!
  • I’ve witnessed that healing comes in many ways:
    • Through the touch of the Master’s hand, which is sometimes a miracle, and always a mystery…
    • Through the power of prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit, though prayer and faith will not heal everyone in the time we would like them to be healed…
    • Through medical science – treatment and therapy, the power of drugs, the skill of physicians, the tender care of nurses – all of which are God given gifts…
    • Through a holistic approach to healing that might include meditation as well as medication…
  • There is a time to heal… if we want to be made well, I think we need to use all the resources for healing that are at our disposal….

 

A TIME TO HOLD

  • There is a time to hold… when we can not heal, all we can do is hold…
  • Sometimes in spite of the very best efforts of medical science and prayer, healing does not come before death and all that we can do is embrace the patient with our love…
  • Love has the amazing power to break through the barrier of pain and suffering… love has the power to restore, mend, and make whole…
    • Experience proves the power of love… I hope you have witnessed love’s power at some point in your life.
    • “The healing streams that lie within the body which may be energized and activated by the power of love are potent indeed, more so than perhaps we realize.”  <Moore>
  • A few years ago in Sweden, a nurse working in a government hospital was assigned to an elderly woman patient. This patient was a tough case. She had not spoken a word in three years. The other nurses disliked her and tried to avoid her as much as they could. Basically, they ignored her. But the new nurse decided to try “unconditional love.” The elderly patient rocked all day in her rocking chair. So one day the nurse pulled up a rocking chair beside the lady and just rocked along with her and loved her. Occasionally the nurse would reach over and gently pat the hand of the elderly woman. After just a few days of this, the patient suddenly opened her eyes and said to the nurse, “You’re so kind.” The next day they talked some more and incredibly two weeks later the lady was well enough to leave the hospital and go home.”  <Moore>
  • Our love is made know through our presence… the ministry of presence is one of the most powerful ministries I know… it’s not doing the right thing or saying the right thing… it’s just being there… it is the ministry of presence that manifests love…
  • Sometimes at a bedside a family member will say, “I feel so helpless. I wish I could do something.” I remind them that their presence does more than they will ever know.
  • Sometimes we can not heal… that is the time to hold – to embrace the patient with our love…

 

A TIME TO LET GO

  • There is a time to heal… there is a time to hold… and there is a time to let go…
  • Letting go does not mean giving up… letting go means accepting what will be and understanding that not all healing takes place in this life…
  • Letting go means allowing death to come as a welcome, gentle friend, rather than a powerful enemy – death is not always the enemy. My father, a physician, said to me many times, “Death is a part of life.”
  • It is not uncommon for me to say to a patient who has lived a long, full life, or to a patient who has struggled valiantly to cling to life, “You don’t have to fight any longer… you’ve done enough… you’ve done well… it’s okay to let go.” I said those very words to my own father and years later to my mother…
  • Giving someone “permission to die” is not easy for family members, but it is sometimes the very best gift we can give to someone whom we love dearly – to someone who is fighting against death.
  • There is indeed a time to let go… to gently and loving let Go and let God…

 

CONCLUSION

  • May our prayer this day be: God, heal our loved ones, heal our brothers and sisters, heal our communities, heal our church, heal our nation, heal our world… God heal us. Amen.

 

NOTE: This sermon is revised from the original sermons preached on 2-5-06, 4-29-07, 3-7-10, and 2-10-13

 

Sermon Seeds

  • Daily Study Bible – LukeWilliam Barclay and Life Application Bible Commentary – Tyndale
  • The Healing Presence of Christ – a sermon by Dave Kepple
  • The Healing of Simon’s Mother-In-Law – a sermon by James Moore
  • A Sermon for February 5, 2006 by the Rev. Dr. Frank Hegedus  (www.episcopalchurch.org)

Worship Bulletin

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