Healing Stories...

“You know, O Mortal, what is good, and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” —Micah 6: 8

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” —Jiddu Krishnamurti

Yesterday in worship, we preached a sermon about a Healing Miracle. I’ve been sick for the better part of two weeks. It was a singularly interesting experience to reflect on God’s healing power while suffering an illness. And as much as I tried to lay low and care for myself during that time, I was still having almost daily interactions with Beloved members of our community who are suffering from different illnesses: chronic financial struggle, ongoing legal battles, grieving the loss of a spouse, tasked with caring for others but lacking the resources to do it, despair, depression, isolation, addiction, the feeling of absolute powerlessness. On top of all these various illnesses I watched so many wrestle with, I was struggling to stay awake for more than an hour at a stretch, struggling to catch my breath, breaking into a sweat just from walking the dog around the block.

It was a very personal reminder to me of the debilitating illnesses so many of us suffer on a regular basis in our society. It was a reminder that there are dear folks among us who literally struggle to accomplish “basic” tasks, like heating the house, putting food on the table, or getting out of bed in the morning. It can be difficult to stop and take notice of how our neighbors may be suffering…which means it is difficult to fulfill our God’s Great Command: to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves.

We remember that Healing Miracles in the Bible are never just about physical healing…they are about God’s power to Restore to Life in every way possible. When someone is healed in the Bible, their illness is not just wiped away…their lives are given back to them…they are reconnected to their community…they are no longer just associated with a particular ailment, but recognized once more as a full human being. Miracle Stories are the narrative version of God’s healing message of love and justice. The Prophets—like Micah, Amos, Jeremiah, etc.—deliver that same message of healing love and justice from the Divine…but they choose to preach in poetry, rather than prose. All of the Prophets attempted to capture the attention of their audience by changing up the rhythm…using graphic imagery to capture the imagination of the people. They remind us that God’s Word is absolute, and God’s project of justice and love for all will not be stopped…even if we are distracted with other things.

God will not stop working toward restoring ALL of us to FULL life, with dignity and care. This means we should not stop working toward healing and restoration for one another, either. There are times that our own suffering overwhelms us, so we need to focus on caring for ourselves. There are just as many times when serving the needs of another is the key to our own healing.

This is a big week in our nation. We have faced anger, hatred, and division across political lines for too long…and now there is another election…another opportunity to use the mechanism of government to Heal and Restore as many lives as possible…and, unfortunately, another opportunity to widen the gap that has already separated too many of us from one another.

When things get loud and anxious this week…as they are bound to…remember what God has spoken to us. You know, O Mortal, what is good…and you know what God requires of you: Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. We need not give in to the illnesses that plague society…we can find our refuge in God’s abundant love and mercy…and we can invite others to join us there.

Brian Gruhn