By Mary Bridges, chaplain
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
James 5:13-14 NIV
Our cruise to Alaska in August was truly a “mountain-top” experience for Kenny and me. We experienced breathtaking scenery, had the opportunity to visit new places and learn about other cultures with very different ways of living. Our days were filled with lattes, beer and wine while we relaxed at the Crow’s Nest on the observation deck. We ate our way through the many restaurants on board the ship and on land. We came home relaxed and renewed and several pounds heavier.
Then life happened. At the airport, TVs were filled with news coverage of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Two days later, I was involved in a car accident that was a “deep-valley experience.” Our great-grandson moved to Houston for the school year a few days later, which left a sadness in my heart and a heaviness in my soul.
My home church in Russell holds a healing service every Monday. One Monday night, there was a special service for one of my best friends who is currently undergoing chemo and radiation for Stage IV cancer. Surrounded by friends, anointed with oil, experiencing a laying on of hands, scripture and prayers provided a quieting of my aching heart, and when I drove home that evening my spirit felt soothed. I felt a renewed sense of hopefulness and peace.
Scripture is full of stories of civilizations appeals for healing and comfort and God’s response to them. Healing comes in many forms including physical, mental, emotional and spiritually. A healing service doesn’t guarantee a cure. I believe they can, but they also calm our hearts and bring us peace.
This month I am going to begin a monthly Service of Healing in the Chapel. They will be the first Wednesday of each month with the first one being October 2, at 2 p.m. for all those wishing to take part in a community service. At 2:30 p.m., I will be in the Chapel for any individuals who prefer a more private service. My hope is that these services will give us a time to focus on God whose will for each of us is wholeness, peace, comfort and hope in our lives.