Make Me Clean

by Jim Slauter of Orlando, Florida USA

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”  —Mark 1:40–41

The Kiev, Ukraine, Friendship Club and Community of Christ congregation are being newly planted in a neighborhood filled with children and young families. My wife, Jan, and I visited the congregation one evening during the summer of 2010 and were introduced by Maria, the pastor and our interpreter.

Kiev was experiencing record-setting heat. Several fans were running in the room where we gathered. Following the opening prayer, a woman ran into the room and whispered to Maria. She told us we needed to go with her to the entryway to pray for a young boy who was experiencing a severe asthma attack. I grabbed the consecrated oil from my backpack, and we were escorted to the boy, who was held in his uncle’s arms.

The frantic boy was experiencing extreme respiratory distress, and his skin color was noticeably blue. I remember thinking someone should call an ambulance as we knelt beside him and shared the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick.

As Jan anointed the boy’s head with oil and began to pray, I thought about the language barrier and was reminded the Holy Spirit knows no boundaries. The Spirit was real as we offered our prayers for God’s blessing to bring peace and healing to the child.

We experienced the miracle of healing as we prayed. The child’s breathing returned to normal, his anxiety calmed, and he fell asleep in his uncle’s arms during the confirming prayer of blessing. We opened our eyes and realized the congregation of faithful believers had circled us and joined in faithful petition for the child. The Holy Spirit transcended the barriers of language and culture as our faith united in sacred community, and we were blessed with a testimony of God’s grace and generosity.

Prayer for Peace:

Healing God, hear our petitions for healing and increase our faith. Thank you for bridging all barriers, so together we can build peaceable communities.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Making Responsible Choices

Each day this week prayerfully seek God’s guidance in your choices. Discernment invites us to orient our lives toward God and God’s vision for us and creation. Begin by reviewing the responsibilities and opportunities in the day before you. Ask God for wisdom and insight about what matters most.

Offer yourself to God with the prayer of Teresa of Avila: “God, what do you want of me today?” Sit prayerfully with this question as you review the day again. Be aware of images, thoughts, names, or actions that come to you. Ask for blessing to live this day compassionately in the spirit of Christ.

Peace Covenant:

Today, healing God, I will accept your grace, and offer my thanks.