Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 14, 2010

August 14, 2010

"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me."

I was hot and sticky and feeling a bit out of place. In previous years I stood in the crowd, near people I knew. But this year I was up front being told by a frantic organizer where to stand, when I would speak. I hate hot and sticky. I kept downing water and contemplated just pouring it on my head. The words on my page smudged from my sweaty hands. My asthma threatened to rear its ugly head. Is it 7pm yet?

Finally, the time came. Without hesitation, I took the microphone after, I was introduced. In front of hundreds of people, I offered up a prayer asking for a blessing for the Ohio County Relay for Life 2010. May those who work to fight cancer be blessed. May those who live with cancer be blessed.

Unlike the weather, I love the Relay - every year bigger, better, and more hopeful. Amidst the festiveness is an unyielding determination to keep fighting to end cancer.

I get emotional when the survivors file past the microphone announcing their name, their cancer(s), and how long they are a survivor. 15 years. 7 years. 4 months. 2 years. One week. Last night the survivors kept coming and coming. When the line had stopped, and I had a chance to hug Ruth and others, I turned around. Good Lake had a parade of survivors that circled half of the lake. Half of the whole lake! That's when the tears started. So many survivors. So much healing and hope.

Jesus is the great healer. The beggar in this story knows this and keeps calling out to Jesus. Because of his faith, he sees again, through the touch of Jesus. Jesus does indeed have mercy on him. Recently someone said to me, "I wish we could do that. Touch people like Jesus and heal them." Looking at the enormous line of survivors last night, and thinking about the additional survivors at First Christian who were unable to be there, I realized that we are healing people like Jesus. Through our prayers, our touch, our care, our quest for knowledge, Jesus heals using us.

Painfully we know that not everyone is healed of their physical ailments. It doesn't mean that Jesus isn't there, but just like the disciples, we don't always have the power or knowledge. Jesus welcomes those who are beyond our healing, into his presence where there is no more pain or crying or death. Understand that with every act of love towards someone who is sick and their families, we testify to Jesus' healing of body, mind, and spirit. Through our witness of love - like the beggar- we take their hand and follow Jesus on the The Way. Healing is a great responsibility and an unspeakable joy.

You are the Great Physician, Lord. Every day you heal us of our hurts. Sometimes those hurts are all too real. They are physical and debilitating and soul sapping. Help us in our faith. Remind us that through our baptism, each of us has been given the gift to heal. Our ministry of healing may not be in the form of Western medicine. Help us to claim our ability to heal the hurts of people with our love - a love that begins with your unconditional love of us. Amen

Maggie Sebastian

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