Summary: A sermon about healing in the community of faith.
“Being Human Together”
In Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness, the author describes her tortured journey through ten years of extreme depression and bipolar disorder.
Concerning the importance of Christian fellowship while in recovery, she writes, “This is why it is so important to worship in community—to ask your brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for you…
…Sometimes you literally cannot make it on your own, and you need to borrow from the faith of those around you.
Sometimes I cannot even recite the Creed unless I am doing it in the context of worship, along with all the Body of Christ…
…When reciting the Creed, I borrow from the recitation of others.”
Our Scripture Passage for this morning from James is about healing.
And not just plain old healing, it’s about healing in community, in the community of faith.
There really is no such thing as Christianity outside the Church.
And when I say this, I’m not talking about institutions and dogma.
Nor am I talking about 4 walls.
I am talking about brothers and sisters in Christ.
Other human beings who are being human together by trusting, and hoping and believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior—and by loving one another, lifting one another up in prayer, listening to one another without judgment, sympathizing with one another—just being there.
And in being together in Jesus’ name—Jesus is with us, the Holy Spirit is with us.
How many of you have ever been so broken, so hurt, so sick, so down that you either did not know what to pray for or you just couldn’t pray?
In Romans Chapter 8 Paul writes a most astonishing thing.
He says that “the Spirit comes to help our weakness.
We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans.”
And the Holy Spirit is with us, and works through the community of believers which is the Church.
I remember when I was going through a particularly tough period of time.
It seemed as if everything was crashing down around me, and I didn’t know what to do.
I felt that I was at the end of my rope.
I hadn’t shared my situation with anyone, but the next day I got a call from a fellow church member.
He said, “Ken, the strangest thing happened last night and I just have to tell you about it.
I woke up at about 1 in the morning and felt God calling me to pray for you.
I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but the feeling just got stronger and stronger.
God was telling me that you were in trouble and I needed to pray for you right that minute!!!
So I did.”
To say I was blown away is an understatement.
I don’t have to tell you that at about 1 a.m. the answer to my groanings had come, and when my brother was praying for me—through the power and knowledge and love of the Holy Spirit—that is when I was made well or healed.
Prayer is one of those great mysteries.
The world is in pain, groaning as in birth pangs.