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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blessed to be the Means of Grace

Spiritual Practice: Healing for Broken Spirits “Begin with quiet prayer. Ask God to help you discern some “sore places” in the body of Christ and in God’s creation. Become aware of people who feel separated, wounded, or left out. Reflect on or write a short journal entry of healing words to at least one person who comes to mind. Ask God for words that will touch this person’s broken spirit like healing ointment. Keep this person in your heart and prayers today and act on any ideas that come to bring blessing and wholeness.”

This is one of the many Daily Bread “moments of presence” with God that has touched me with a depth of feeling for so many people that are hurting in so many ways.  I keep a copy of this specific practice on my wall before me as it captures the reality of so many lives that to pray this just once is so inadequate. This exercise has become deeply personal in a heartfelt way when I pray and centre my projected outpouring of care, hope and love upon another. The compassion of Christ is to all, for all and with all. Through empathetic grace of knowing our hearts God implores us to love even our enemies, an expression of love that knows no boundaries; where one of our new hymns envisions both the abused and the abuser encompassed by love.

Broken spirits can be missed by us in the rush of life. I believe through such "moments of presence" and reflection we come to discern through eyes beyond our humanity, the loneliness, the woundedness and the despair that haunts another. This is the beginning place of healing, reconciliation and peace not as the world giveth. There is a realm of living that is illusive; that awaits us to open our hearts to participate in. It is as subtle as a breeze or the fragrance of a flower, but invites us to enter into relationship with our creator who works through us to bring healing and meaning where life’s agonies are suffocating. I pray both for pause in our lives to “come to ourselves” as the prodigal and “become” blessed and a blessing and for those to whom our words and our care might soothe. Ask God and your eyes will be opened to new world.

Submitted by Kerry Richards

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Healing - God grant me the Courage to risk.....

Community of Christ has deeply emphasized spiritual practices as foundational formation disciplines that nurture discernment and mindfulness with a relational God we encounter in real time, not as a fictional feel good imagining. We experience a caring, compassionate and unconditional loving God who “Is.” 

Over the past 3 months I have taken an interest in the nature and reality of the ministry of healing, yes, through the Spirit of God. I have read numerous books. I have read about and attended a healing retreat and spoken with practitioners of alternative energy healing. I have also read of the contradictory scientific neurological descriptions of near death and religious experiences. Further I have discussed the pantheistic oneness of the interconnected spirit which permeates all creation and how this relates to healing. I have read about and had conversations about the possibility of Divine intervention and of the diverse perspectives within Community of Christ and elsewhere. I have reviewed the dozens of healings that comprise Jesus’ ministry and in every single case the compassionate Jesus heals the person before him who approaches him in faith or …..  uncertainty.  This is a subject of great complexity at the discussion level. What happens if we take it beyond conversation?

Healing in all its forms is prevalent throughout the ministry of the “human” Jesus (Phil 2:7 ) with the promise that is extended to his Disciples of the same ministry. The modernistic worldview is that God does not intervene, that the "rain falls on all alike” nature of God’s unconditional, pervasive love leaves healing in the realm of human intellect and skill. There is no subjective miracle for one person over another. Is this what we believe despite our proclamation of Christ? I pose this question to each one. Are scriptures a faith story, parable type representation of good living human expressions of “best practices”? Or…. is there an endowing, empowering, healing spirit of God that intervenes in the circumstances of human life? Is this merely a topic for conversation or a moment for truth learned and evidenced through personal experimentation? Is there a difference between the revealed insights of discernment through dwelling in the word or centering….. and the spiritual practice of healing? Is our encounter with our relational God only internal inspirational mindfulness limited to rational human experience? 

My ministry includes the laying on of hands. I pray petitionary prayers to our loving relational Creator whose compassion is boundless and dwarfs my inadequate words on behalf of another. Is my ministry to bring sympathetic comfort and peace….. or granted power to enable the compassion of God to bring wholeness of body, mind and spirit to the person in need? Are interpretations of what wholeness means necessary if a tumour is not made benign or hearing is not restored or pain does not stop? Are we expecting to provide crutches instead of healing? Are we reticent to actually say the words, “be healed by the power of God” Are we offering petitionary prayers when prayers of expectant power to heal are God’s intention? I don’t think healing can be a detached conversation apart from vulnerability to be and know. I believe to understand healing I must experience it through personal trials where I put my life and ministry on the line and risk with compassion on behalf of those in need of God’s blessing. These are my questions and my personal journey going forward? Expect this of me and ask me how my ministry is unfolding as I open myself to new expressions of what Christ's mission means. Do you have the courage to join me? 

Submitted by Kerry Richards