May 24, 2020 (Service of Healing)

Prayer of the Day

O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful presence, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Acts 1:6-14

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35

1 Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him. 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God. 3 But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy. 4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds — his name is the Lord— be exultant before him. 5 Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6 God gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land. 7 O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, (Selah) 8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel. 9 Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad; you restored your heritage when it languished; 10 your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, (Selah) 33 O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens; listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. 34 Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel; and whose power is in the skies. 35 Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

Guided Healing Meditation on Mark 2:1-12

(adapted from resources which are part of Thriving Leadership Formation)

Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits collected a number of spiritual exercises to help people develop an intimate relationship with Jesus. Over time Ignatius found that one of the most powerful methods for helping people receive and respond to Jesus was to imaginatively pray the Gospels. When people were invited to prayerfully imagine a biblical story taking place, their response and connection to Jesus was more intimate, reflective, and transforming. Ignatius invited people to enter Biblical passages by asking them to pay attention to their senses–a bit like entering into a movie and then interacting with the characters and scenes.

Today’s contemplation will be over Mark 2:1-12 the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. As I read the story, I will invite you at various times to notice what you see, hear, feel, and smell in order to bring the story to life. Without manipulating or forcing anything, allow yourself to be in the story and see if you might imagine bringing your own needs and wounds to Jesus.

Our contemplative prayer will last for ten to fifteen minutes.

Come to sense of quiet rest.  Get comfortable wherever you are sitting; shift a little if you need to. Allow yourself to attend to your breathing.  Imagine that with every in-breath you are breathing in God’s love and with each exhalation you are releasing whatever distractions or anxiety resides within or around you.

Seek to become attentive to God’s loving presence.  In your own way, just within yourself, dedicate this time to God.

Allow your imagination to compose the setting of this story. Pay attention to the sensory details.  Notice the sights, sounds, textures, and feeling of the scene.

Imagine yourself within the situation and events described in the passage. Maybe you become one of the figures or maybe you are there just as you are.

Relax and close your eyes or find something to focus on, either in our sanctuary or maybe the candle you have lit. Allow the Spirit to help you imagine the story.

Singing Bowl

2When [Jesus] returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them.

What do you see, hear, feel, and touch in this scene?  And what is Jesus like?

Minute of silence

3Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’

What do you see, hear, feel, and touch in this scene?  What is Jesus like? What is his presence like? What is his invitation to you?

Minute of silence

6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ 8At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”?

What do you see, hear, feel, and touch in this scene?  And what is Jesus like?

Allow yourself to rest and allow Jesus or the Holy Spirit’s presence to come over you once again.

Minute of silence

[Jesus continues,] 10But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— 11‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’12And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’

What do you see, hear, feel, and touch in this scene?  And what is Jesus like?

For the next few moments simply allow yourself to rest in Jesus’ healing presence.

Minute of silence

I now invite you to offer thanks within you for whatever has occurred within your prayer and then, as you’re ready, gently begin to bring your attention back to your space and my voice.

Singing Bowl

Is there some invitation from the Spirit for how you might carry the fruit of this prayer into your daily life?  Take a moment to write down insights or perceptions that have arisen from the prayer. Take a moment to reflect on how you want to carry the grace of this prayer out into your daily life. What is one personal or public action you sense the Spirit is nudging you to undertake as a result of this exercise? Take a moment to listen and discern how the spirit is calling you to act. 

“As you consider the action you hope to take this week, does this action resonate…

With Jesus’ deepest yearnings for the world?

With Jesus’ deepest yearnings for you?

With Jesus’ deepest yearnings for the other?

With what Jesus would do himself?”

Prayers of Intercession (Adapted by Deacon Diane McGeoch from ELW Occasional Services for Assembly)

Together as a community of Christ, let us pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.

Loving God, we give you thanks for the gifts of new life in your creation all around us.  May these new beginnings in nature remind us of the good that you have created, and the renewing of life that is present in the earth. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we thank you for the ministry of healing we are given today.  Empower us to use the gifts of laying on of hands and anointing of oil as ways to bring your presence to hurting people. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Holy God, your spirit came upon us in the waters of baptism and brought us into the communion of saints.  Renew in us the grace of baptism, so that we can celebrate again and again the gift of community that brings us together in your name. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Mighty God, your Son Jesus brings wholeness and healing to all.  Bring your healing presence to all who are sick, suffering, and in pain.  We remember those who are depressed and lonely and need your loving touch.  In these days where physical touch may not be possible, may the whispers of your spirit hold us in your care. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Compassionate God, we give you thanks for all the healers in our midst.  For the doctors, nurses, and all hospital staffs, for our first responders and community workers, and retail and restaurant employees who are working in challenging times, grant them strength and protection as they serve others. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Healing God, watch over the caregivers and family and friends of those who suffer.  Lead us as your healers to daily acts of kindness and service that can relieve burdens and offer support.  Bring wholeness in body, mind, and spirit to all who are broken. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, you have seen generations who have died through sacrifice, war, courage and folly. You have comforted generations who mourned and grieved and sang solemn songs and laid flowers on graves. As we remember those who have died in past wars and conflicts, help us remember that you were there when the mountains were formed. You were there to sooth our grief and breathe hope int the hopeless. You are with us still. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of great and abundant mercy, with your presence sustain all for whom we pray.  Drive away their suffering, give them firm hope, and strengthen their trust in you; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  AMEN.



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