Sermons

Summary: Some experiences of God`s Healing Gifts given through the most unexpected people.

"HEALING GIFTS"

I became interested in the Healing Ministry through something that happened in my first Parish as a Vicar in England in 1970. The doorbell of my Vicarage rang one day and I found a local shopkeeper standing on the doorstep. She said, "My son Ian`s been in a Motor Bike Accident. He`s been in a coma for weeks. I want you to come to the Hospital and pray for him. Now this was startling because neither her or her son ever went near the Church. In fact Ian was a right tearaway, always getting into trouble. But this wasn`t the only problem. You see I`d never prayed for someone as badly hurt as this before.

That afternoon I went to the hospital and saw him, lying there totally still. His mother was there too. I talked with her - I talked about accident, then about her shop, then about this and that............. I really didn`t know what to do or say!

After a few minutes like this, totally frustrated at my behaviour, she burst out, "Well then, aren`t you going to pray for him like I asked you". I gulped, put my hand on his hand, and prayed, saying first thing that came into head. Well, of course, NOTHING HAPPENED - I didn`t expect it to, so, after a few minutes I left.

At 5pm, there was another ring at the front door. I looked through the window and saw it was Ian`s mother again. I groaned and said to myself, "What does she want now?". She said, "I tried to catch you but you`d gone. A minute or two after you left, Ian opened eyes and said, "Who was that who prayed for me" - HE`S ALL RIGHT! And indeed he was - and he continued to be all right - still riding his bike round the Parish - still a tearaway - and still never coming to Church, neither him nor his mother!

That was the first time I realised I had underrated God. For the first time I realised that the miracles of Jesus were not just for 2,000 years ago - just stories in the Bible. Here I was faced up with a MIRACLE that had happened in MY life and I couldn`t get away from it. Yes, it WAS a miracle - and it had happened when I prayed - and my prayer was FAITHLESS! Well, just a tiny bit of a mustard seed of faith, and most of that coming from desperate Mother who`d come to the Church AS A LAST RESORT.

It started me thinking, and searching. Searching to find out why my life was so powerless and empty despite the fact I was a Vicar!. I`d never seen before how CENTRAL the Healing Ministry was to Jesus` Ministry - that, if you took a pair of scissors and cut out all references to healing in the New Testament you`d have a very slim volume indeed. I saw that Jesus healed people, NOT to demonstrate how POWERFUL He was, but because He couldn`t help loving people - He couldn`t HELP HEALING THEM THEM.

I also began to see that, in using me as an instrument of healing for Ian He was continuing His loving Healing work, in just the same way that He had done in the infant Church using people who were, as St. Paul puts it "not very wise, not very powerful, or of high social standing - He purposely chose what the world considers NONSENSE in order to shame the wise, and He chose what the world considers weak to shame the powerful" (1Cor. 1 vv 26-27). It took me a long time however to realise how far this truth extended.

A few years later I was out visiting people in a new Parish. In England it`s usual and possible to visit people who never come to Church. That afternoon, for the first time I called on three people who were in need. Two sisters and a brother living together in the same house. Roger, who was 79, was suffering from acute asthma. Zelma, who was 80, couldn`t walk very well because of a huge ulcer on her leg. Bunny at 81 was nearly blind.

I was very touched by what I saw but didn`t know how to help. During the next three or four months I visited them pretty regularly. Then, one day, Roger said to me: "Vicar we really enjoy you coming to see us.... but do you mind if I ask, `Why do you come?`. It`s not as if we go to Church, none of us has since we were teenagers. You knew that, but you still come. WHY?"

I replied, "Well, Roger, you see, when first met you I saw that all three of you were in great need. I wanted to help but didn`t know how. But Jesus gave me a great love for you - so I did the only thing I could think of - I came to visit you".

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