As we begin a new season of life at St. Stephen’s, we are aware of the needs in our own hearts and in the world. Members of our community are living with illness (both chronic and acute), addiction, family challenges, and grief. If we turn on the news we know of the racial brokenness in our country in Ferguson, the cruelty of ISIS, the tensions in the Ukraine. The need for healing is palpable
Beginning this Sunday at the 10:30 Eucharist, we will be focusing on healing. Our prayers of the people will utilize the Litany for Healing which is part of Enriching our Worship, an inclusive language resource which is authorized for use in the Episcopal Church. The service music for this season will be taken from the Orthodox Church as we share the faith with our sisters and brothers in Russia and the Ukraine. We will also have a station set up on the floor at the front of the church for anointing for healing and communion.
Healing prayer in the Episcopal Church is seen as a practice we do with the sick, rather than for them; it is personal and penetrating. While we may experience loneliness and powerlessness in the face of illness, healing prayer reminds us that we are part of the communion of saints. We may appear to be healthy today, but sickness, frailty and death come to us all.
Prayer for healing connects us to the power and presence of God about a particular situation. The feelings we may have in the face of illness or pain—anger, homelessness, frustration, fear—are all held in the light of God’s love. They require patience, persistence, and care. Healing may not mean cure and is not an end in itself—it always points to the reign of God and the wholeness God intends for us.
I invite you to enter into this fall in a spirit of expectation and hope, allowing yourself to name the areas in your life and in the life of the world which need healing. I hope you may encounter God in new ways.