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Church’s Ministry of Healing marks 90th anniversary

Church’s Ministry of Healing marks 90th anniversary

The Church’s Ministry of Healing marked 90 years in the Church of Ireland at its annual Service of Thanksgiving and Gift Day on Saturday (May 21). The service took place in the Church of St John the Baptist in Clontarf and was celebrated by the Rector and chair of Church’s Ministry of Healing: Ireland, Canon Lesley Robinson. The preacher was Archbishop Michael Jackson and during the service those involved in healer prayer renewed their commitment to the ministry of healing.

In his sermon the Archbishop remembered those who on “countless dark evenings and in countless small corners have prayed for the sick and for those who have asked for prayers for their healing. Only they know the distresses to which they are inviting God to respond”.

He said that those involved in healing ministry had instinctively widened their prayer to pray for the needs of the world and its peoples, in the spirit of wholeness and healing together. He asked: “Who would not wish to offer the embrace of God to the peoples of Ukraine and of Russia today and to all other peoples remembered and forgotten in similar plight the world over?”

Referring to St John 20, the Archbishop said the text spoke of two types of healing. One involved no touch, Mary of Magdala; one involved close touch and the invitation to dig deep more than once, Thomas the Twin.

“Both at the same time and in the same spiritual movement involve The Risen Lord, and that is the point; and that is why it is good to hold this service of thanksgiving in The Season of Easter. This is our point of connection. This is our focus of hope. This is our real presence of Christ Jesus the Healer risen and among us. Healing, in our context of embodied faith, always involves the holding together of the body of Christ and the body of humanity, Passion and Resurrection, Creator and creation,” the Archbishop explained.

He continued: “Jesus asks Mary to refrain from touching him; he is still in an in–between state and needs to be left to ascend. Jesus asks Thomas to touch him and to plunge his finger into the hole made by the soldier’s spear in his side, to look at his hands and to make a very particular connection of faith in the physical. We have no option but to go with the scriptural flow of contradiction. Spiritual healing involves both not–touching and touching. Both of these very vivid pictures in tandem take us to the heart of healing: what it is to be transformed, each of us differently, by meeting The Risen Lord Jesus who carries beyond the grave his experiences of our life and gives back again to us those experiences for our experiencing transfigured by Passion and Resurrection. In so doing, he transforms and heals our on–going life.”

With the advances in medical science, Archbishop Jackson said that we need to face the active relationship between the spiritual and the medical adding that healing relates to both. He suggested that many things we describe as miracles are carried out by medical personnel and by the advances in medical science.

“And such insights and appreciations are essential for our generation to speak out boldly in commending The Ministry of Healing with all of its integrity, all of its rich history and all of its human and divine hopefulness – and to make and to hold the connections between both with confidence and without embarrassment,” he said. God inhabits the totality of who we are and what we do, he stated, and there is no need to collude with any stand off between religion and science when it came to healing.

You can read the full text of the Archbishop’s sermon here.

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