A broken world has to have healers! Thank goodness we are all healers! Please read on and claim your place in the great healing relay race that Jesus started 2000 years ago! I’m offering this little article about healing because I want to honor St. Luke the physician and evangelist whose feast day was this past Wednesday, Oct. 18, and I want to convince you that the power of healing exists in everyone created by God – by the way, that’s everyone!
To do this, I offer Luke as a role model. To be honest, little is known about Luke as a physician. There is only a short reference to him as physician in Colossians 4:14 – “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.” That’s about all we know of Luke the physician. Of what we know more is that, somewhere along the line, Luke heard about Jesus. Somewhere along the line, he became a partner in God’s work. Somewhere along the line, Luke heard God’s word and story and became a storyteller himself, and the words he told were healing words. “Do not be afraid.” “Weep no more.” “Your sins are forgiven.”
There are 13 episodes in Luke where Jesus heals. In most of these stories Jesus uses only words, but the power of Jesus’ healing words has passed down unchanged through the centuries. Every time we read Scripture, go to church, have Bible study, and talk to each other we reach into our little black bag and pull out God stories – stories of healing, new life, restoration, reconciliation, release, promise, and freedom.
We all have God stories from Scripture in our little black bags. We also have our own God stories when someone else came along and found us broken on the side of the road and they opened their little black bag, and cleaned and bound our wounds. The medicine they brought to us was compassion, concern, presence, touch and love. These are more than words. These are actions, and actions speak louder than words!
Many times throughout my life I have received this medicine from friends. Very few of them had medical training or degrees. What they did have was faith and gratitude for the healing they had received, and they passed that on.
I spend most of my days in the hospital with highly skilled professional healers. I see compassion, concern, touch and love in the people who park the patients’ cars and help them into the hospital. I overhear these words from employees who encounter a bewildered lost patient: “Let me help you.” “Don’t be afraid, I’m going to take care of you.”
There you have it! Like it or not, every one of us can be prescribers of healing words and actions. All we have to do is be sensitive and responsive to the opportunities presented every day. We are all Doctors of the Gospel!
The Rev. Joe Bowden is the assisting priest at Church of the Good Shepherd.