Spirit of the Living God
Present with us now
Body, Mind, and Spirit
And heal you of all that harms you
In Jesus’ name
This is the prayer spoken on the isle of Iona at the Tuesday healing service. I have knelt there among others while tears streamed down my face. My heart was heavy with grief and confusion. I let hands lie upon my shoulders as others prayed. I let these words shower me with grace and courage. Among the community, I hoped and prayed for healing, especially in my own life. What followed was a year that saw me through a divorce and the burial of two loved ones; a year of deep loss and overwhelming change. This is not exactly the outcome of healing I hoped for when I prayed on that isle. Healing is not often predictable.
Lament is not often clean.
Beyond myself, I lament the war and deep pain and fear of violence that permeates many countries and conflicts. I lament every time a black body suffers in the face of fear and privilege. I lament the way borders are slicing apart families. I lament the divisive and callous language that drips from our news feeds and Twitter feeds. I lament when we choose profit over people, bottom lines over human rights.
Sometimes I do not know what else to do. I often feel powerless in the face of policy and lack of proximity. Sometimes I do not know what brings healing to relationships that get strained or broken, to illnesses that wreak havoc on the body, to grievances and rifts that seem insurmountable.
But I often know where brings healing.
Healing to a bone happens when we set it in healthy conditions, allowing time to mend and fractures to seal. At the table, healing happens when we allow the weary and wounded soul to sit in healthy conditions, among fellowship, allowing fractures to bond in community. At the table, all can engage in both giving and receiving, as Jesus modeled when he ate with sinners, tax-collectors, disciples, women of the night, Pharisees, and dear friends. Healing occurs in this balance of mutuality, pouring out and filling up, among the communion of the table and the nourishment of body and soul.
In the sacrament of table and community, there lies the healing power of presence and the movement of the Spirit. When we sit with a fellow human and hear their story, policy becomes personal. When we sit with someone of a different culture, fear shifts into familiarity and fellowship. When we sit together at a table, a sense of belonging begins to mend the weary and grieving heart.
Another part of the Iona healing liturgy:
Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are troubled, and I will give you rest.” So come, you who are burdened by regrets and anxieties, you who are broken in body or in spirit, you who are torn by relationships and by doubt, you who feel deeply within yourselves the divisions and injustices of our world. Come, for Jesus invites us to bring him our brokenness.
I can only hope that by showing up to the table again and again, that healing is washing over each of us, and all of us, as we gather together.
and shared humanity
and the presence of the Spirit,
may you find and co-create
healing (and space to embrace needing it)
at a table this week.