September 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm #3467
“Healing takes us beyond ourselves. Healing draws us into the life of God. The work of salvation wrought in the Incarnation of our Lord is the work of healing. Healing is… how we partake of the divine life in this world.” What are your experiences of the healing liturgies of the church?
[See the full post at: "the Lord will raise them up": Healing and the Church]September 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm #3477
As a chaplain, my world of laying on of hands and anointing exists almost entirely at the bedside of the dying, the very sick, the very sad and the very fearful. It has been my experience that the cure, from our prayers together, that they are looking for is hope, a miracle of enduring love into death to the unknown of forever. Because hope has sometimes been lost in a world of pain and loneliness. And hope opens us to noticing God in the now we have. And my patients are looking to experience God’s embrace in the smelly uncomfortable painful fearful place they are in. The simple clear words of the BAS work well and beautifully in my setting. Clarity about what we mean is so important. And I have learned that most particularly what is wanted is that I add to these words of the set liturgy and pray from my heart before I anoint and that I relax into my faith and clearly show I believe and call out to God’s love and presence for them. And to show I am in the room with the patient because present and incarnate relationship is so important to hope. So over my years as a chaplain my extemporaneous prayer has increased, gained clarity too and developed while surrounded by the foundation of our wonderful written words.
My experience in a parish liturgy is somewhat limited as a priest but very varied over my lifetime as an Anglican. I have found no matter how it was introduced, because that is something I think that needs to be decided as part of the culture of each community, as long as the moment of prayer together in the anointing is safe and unexposed and can be trusted, and offers the relationship Christ calls us to have together, well the moment becomes as paused in God’s time and healing as at the bedside when it is just me and the patient and God rejoicing with us.
How do I know to describe it as I have? Yes I am speaking from how it often feels for me and that so helps me in my faith as I work as a chaplain. But I have also been gifted by people telling me about their time after the anointing and the sense of renewal the anointing gave them and the hope that guided their own prayers afterwards.October 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm #3930
I’ve often wondered if, as the minister of the Sacrament, through whom the Holy Spirit flows (I could get into trouble here, but bear with me) - since you are the one who is administering the consecrated Holy Oil – do you, the priest feel some sort of ‘healing’ or blessing or something indescribable but is just ‘there’?
I guess what made me think of this was as an analogy to Jesus ‘feeling’ something when the woman with the haemorrhage touched His garment from behind.October 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm #3934
Indescribable might be the best word for my personal experience. In hospital visits, in extremis, my experience with prayer for healing has almost always been with the family gathered around and there’s a grace, a sort of floating-ness to the experience. I feel suspended in the moment as we pray together, and there’s a giftedness in the moment of tracing a cross with the oil that I don’t know how to talk about.
When at my current parish we anoint in the context of the Sunday eucharist, I feel exhausted afterward in a way that feels very different from the joy of presiding at the eucharist and the blessing of being able to administer that sacrament. It’s not a bad tiredness, but it’s both physical and emotional: I’ve learned not to schedule anything after such a service, because I won’t have energy for it.
In both cases, I feel a deep sense of connection and belonging: I’m closer to those I’m praying with and for, and the sense of the Spirit drawing us together in praying for wholeness is palpable.
I’d be very interested to hear how others would respond to Charlie’s question!October 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm #3937
A great question. I agree with Matthew, especially in regards to the Sunday Eucharist. The sacrament itself if both energizing and exhausting, and most of us are all too familiar with the necessity of the Sunday afternoon nap. However, your question most powerfully brings to mind experiences of praying with others at the time of death. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it, except to say that an overwhelming sense of peace is immediately present.
On the other hand, I think it’s just as important to admit sometimes, whether due to exhaustion or distraction, I just haven’t felt it. I hold on to some of those experiences, though, because often the other person has confirmed what I think we all need to remember: sometimes God continues to use us, despite our weaknesses.October 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm #3939
goodness gracious Jesse! trying out your offsprings’ Hallowe’en costume a bit in advance? Very good, I must say .. :-)October 18, 2012 at 6:18 pm #3940
Not at all! I’m not claiming anything spooky. It really is an honour to be with someone in their final moments. For many, it’s just another kind of healing. And peaceful. Whether you want to call that a spiritual experience or a physical reality God has made part of the human experience is up to you. But there is a sense of the Spirit.October 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm #3943
sorry Jesse, it was your new ‘avatar’? that I was admiring – yes – admiring, not criticising.
One other reason, now that I remember it was that when I was doing my hospital chaplaincy training in the 70′s !-I found that just the talking and praying with ‘my’ people left me ‘enriched’ somehow.October 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm #3944
Ah! A doodle by a colleague here in Toronto. Long story short: I had to phone in for a meeting, and the sketch represented me in the room.
Wherever two or three are gathered, right?
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.