Saint John’s is a center for healing. Many parishioners experience accelerated recovery through prayer at Saint John’s and I have been told stories of healings that I believe are modern day miracles. And healing is not only for our parishioners. Every month I hear stories of people we pray for who receive healing and release. For whatever reason, God hears and reacts to the prayers that Saint John’s lifts up. I wish this was common place in the Episcopal Church and the catholic (which means universal) church. But unfortunately, it is not. Like people, churches have different spiritual gifts. One of ours happens to be healing and restoration through the power of the Holy Spirit.
To lead us in the deployment of our spiritual gift, we have prayer and healing teams. Daughters of the King and the Order of St. Luke pray every day. Dedicated church members pray our prayer list (page 17 of your bulletin). And, members of the Order of St. Luke pray with those who are interested after communion. One such member, Gwyn, experienced her first opportunity in this special ministry on Pentecost Sunday. We talked after the service. Although she felt called to pray with people during communion, she didn’t feel ready. I told her that feeling “called and not ready” is a common icon of ministry. It was explained to me this way – if you supply the availability, God will supply the ability.
In the movie The Matrix, characters went into the Matrix (a computer generated world) to liberate those who were trapped. Because they were entering a computer program, they could learn things by means of a program downloaded into their brains. For instance, one character needed to fly a helicopter. The flight program was downloaded in ten seconds and suddenly she could fly.
This is how seminary worked for me. Time and again I would learn something, like a Bible passage, and then use that passage the same day. At a VA Hospital, I was in an hour-long session on PTSD at 1 pm. The instructor told us PTSD patients often feel stuck in a particular traumatic event. He then gave us tools designed to unstick someone. At 2 pm I had a shift in the Hospice ward. I did not feel ready and felt woefully inadequate. A retired soldier told me a story about a firefight in Iraq during the Gulf War. His unit was pinned down. It was the third time he shared this story. I said, “It sounds like you were stuck.” Suddenly, a light went on inside of him and he agreed with tears and deep cleansing sobs. After he composed himself, I asked how he got out and he told me of a rather miraculous event that saved his unit. I then asked if he felt stuck in the Hospice ward. He nodded in agreement and shared that he’s now ready to take Jesus’ hand into everlasting life.
The next day, at my 2 pm shift, I walked into his clean and empty room. The nurse said he had passed peacefully during the night. I smiled and said to myself, he’s free, thanks be to God. He is no longer stuck in that cancer ridden body. Through my availability, God freed him.
I believe that God cares very little about our perceived ability and cares even less about how “prepared” we feel. If God did care about preparation, the human race would have died off long ago from infertility. But, God does care about availability. Are you available to serve God and be a builder of the Kingdom? If so, God will provide the ability.