For the next few weeks, I will be reflecting with you on the healing stories from the Gospel of Mark. It will be an ongoing adventure, inviting you to explore your own healing journey, in light of holistic and complementary medicine, postmodern philosophy and theology, process theology, and global spirituality. I begin with the thesis that “wherever truth and healing occur, God is its source,” and that healing emerges from many factors in the divine-human call and response.
We begin with a simple story from Mark 1: 29-31 (You can look it up on the Oremus Bible Browser, see bible.oremus.org.) Peter’s mother in law has a fever, probably a case of the flu. Jesus takes her hand, lifts her up, and the fever is relieved. It is almost too simple a story for those who are looking for big miracles. But, look again – how did you feel the last time you had the flu or a cold? You can lose a day or week, when you can least afford it. Without making deal about it, we can affirm that there are no small ailments. For Peter’s mother in law, her fever meant that she could perform her primary cultural task – providing hospitality. But, cured of her fever, she could live out her vocation to serve once more.
This healing isn’t about traditional gender roles. There is no place in Jesus’ teaching and healing where women are described as inferior or unimportant. In fact, women traveled with Jesus and were likely disciples in this male dominated culture. This healing reminds us, without being narcissistic, that our smallest needs matter. If God’s aim is abundant life, then God supports anything that promotes health and wholeness of body, mind, and spirit.
This healing reminds us that we matter to God and one another, and that God wants us to live out our various vocations and callings.Today, consider your deepest personal and relational needs and how they relate to your understanding of your mission in life and vocation. Open to God’s energy, love, and care so that you can serve others by being whole, regardless of your life circumstances.
Today, focus on the following affirmations:
God wants me to be healthy, effective, and fulfilled.
My health provides me the resources to help others.
I open to God’s energy in all things – large and small – through prayer and meditation.
Wednesday’s installment: The Healing Power of Solitude (Mark 1:35-39)
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His most recent book Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed will be released in May 2011. He can be reached for lectures, seminars, and retreats at firstname.lastname@example.org