Letter from the clergy - Friday 16 October 2020

First published on: 16th October 2020

Dear All,

This Sunday (18th October) we are celebrating the festival of St Luke the Evangelist, who was a physician, as well as a writer of the gospel that bears his name, and so this time of the year is often associated with a focus on the healing ministry.

In a former life I too was a medic, a GP in a rural practice, and at that time we worshipped at a church in York named after St Luke the Evangelist, so I have a special sense of connection with St Luke! As many of you will know, St Luke paid special attention in his gospel to Jesus’s ministry amongst women, the poor, and others who were marginalised in society. One reason may be that in his professional life Luke had witnessed how these people had often been overlooked, and how that had affected their health, in body, mind, and spirit. We use the word ‘wholeness’ to describe that sense of total wellbeing that is more than just physical health, it is health in one’s whole being, body, mind, and spirit, which is what Jesus came to bring. He healed people physically, and instructed his disciples to do the same, but he also healed them emotionally and spiritually, restoring their relationships with God, and with each other.

In our gospel reading, about the sending out of the 72 disciples, the first thing they are instructed to do in a new place is to say ‘peace to this house.’ That is another way of saying I come in peace, to bring you God’s blessing, and I also pray God’s healing of anything that is causing you and your household not to be at peace. Luke goes on to describe how the disciples were to heal those who were sick, and to tell people that the kingdom of God is near to them, which means that spiritual health and reconciliation is accessible to them, in the person of Jesus. They, as his disciples, were part of extending his ministry further afield, as indeed we are in our day.

I very much believe that God continues to heal people today, and that he longs for us to come to him in prayer to ask for healing, whether our needs are physical, emotional, or spiritual. Our God is an awesome God who reigns on high with wisdom, power and love, and yet he also comes to live with us on earth, to heal and restore us, to make us more fully alive, more fully the people we are meant to be. This is good news!  

So I wonder, who are the people, and the places, that need healing today? You may be able to think of examples that are very close at hand. You may also be able to think of groups of people, such as those in some parts of the north of England who have felt neglected and disadvantaged, as we’ve been hearing about in the news this week. We can pray about this, and ask God to come into these situations with his healing power, so let’s do that, let’s pray for the healing of  all those with Covid, and other illnesses, and for the healing and wholeness of our nation. And may we be peacemakers, full of the peace of Christ, and channels of his peace to all those around us.

A Prayer (Niteblessings)

May you be given grace to pause and remember that God's peace is not dependent upon your circumstances;
it flows from God's power, promises, and purposes.
May the reality of God's grace calm your heart, bring hope to your soul and strengthen your resolve for tomorrow.

With grace and peace,
Sue McWhinney         
sue@stjohnsfarsley.org.uk         
07484 181699


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