Sacrament of Healing

By Carolyn Brock of Independence, Missouri, USA

”By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:78–79

It started as a family conflict. The young woman exchanged words with her father. There was a hurried dash across the compound as he called a curse upon her, followed by her fall, resulting in a fractured ankle.

Months later the ankle had not healed well, even after treatment in the small hospital in northeast Kenya.

The girl asked for prayer, so we walked across the dry riverbed in the cool twilight. The story was told. The separation between father and daughter had not healed, and the girl no longer could walk. Anemic, she had given up eating and hope.

Under the deepening blues of the evening sky, Elkana and Dave knelt on a palm mat under the acacia tree where she had been placed. Consecrated oil was placed on her head. Prayers were offered in English and Swahili.

A sacred hush fell on the gathering of family and friends as the Creator named holy the girl, air, land, and life in that place.

She walked again and began eating. Restored to wholeness within her family, she remained joyful even when her leg later had to be amputated.

The lifting of the “curse” ended the conflict and brought a measure of healing.

Skillful conflict mediation might have changed the outcome of this story.

Dialogue might have prevented the broken bone.

We have much to learn about talking with each other, listening to each other. We are learning but not yet there. Our words may not carry power to curse, but they do wound and bring division.

When wounding occurs we still have avenues of healing and reconciliation. God’s grace comes to us through the sacraments, through anointing and prayer, through our touch and healing presence.

These are the skills and gifts we are given as ministers of reconciliation.

Prayer for Peace:

Companion God, help us to know all the ways we can share your light with those who sit in darkness. May we share with them the prayers, our presence, and Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Embodying God’s Shalom

Each day this week find a way to express and embody Christ’s peace. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Prayerfully open to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom. What small act of justice, kindness, healing, or peacemaking is God inviting you to consider this day?

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will be present for someone in need.

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