Adventures in Healing and Wholeness #11 – Healing Circles

An African proverb says that “it takes a village to raise a child.” It also takes a village to experience healing and wholeness. There are no self-made persons or rugged individualists. While agency and creativity vary from person to person, each of us emerges from a many-faceted universe that supplies the majority of materials for our personal transformation. Our freedom is always conditioned and shaped by our environment. Some environments are more or less conducive to nurturing freedom and innovation.

This is the meaning of the healing of Jairus’ daughter. (Mark 5:21-24, 35-43). When Jesus arrives the crowd gathered tells him that she is dead. They have begun their mourning process and are unable to see any alternative to their understanding of her situation. Jesus suggests that she’s still asleep – probably in a coma – and becomes the object of ridicule. The otherwise hospitable Jesus throws the mourners out of the house, and then gathers a small group, including the parents and a few trusted disciples. Only this healing team is allowed in the house.

If Jesus had paid attention to the crowd, surely Jairus and his wife’s daughter would have died. But, Jesus saw another vision of reality, one that included both an accurate diagnosis and an awareness of healing possibilities within an apparently hopeless situation. Jesus creates a healing circle as a point of contact with divine energies, residing in all things. The miracle here may not be supernatural, but the miracle of a loving community gathered for prayer.

Do you have a healing team? Who would you gather for a healing circle if you were a personal crisis of mind, body, spirit, employment, relationships, or finances? Take some time to visualize a circle of loved ones gathered to pray and care for you. If you have deep needs today, you might ask one or two of them to hold in prayer, by whatever means is comfortable to them.

Are you a member of anyone’s healing and support team? Do you feel a call to reach out to someone? Perhaps, prayerfully consider how you might reach out, whether in prayer, visualization, touch, or presence.

Today’s affirmations, that will transform your life, embrace healing relationships:
I am always in God’s circle of love.
I reach out for help when I need it.
I reach out to persons in need of prayer and support.
Challenges call me to prayer and possibility rather than passivity.

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

About Bruce Epperly

Rev. Bruce Epperly, Ph.D., serves as Pastor at South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Centerville, MA. Prior to coming to Cape Cod in 2013, he served on the faculties and often in administrative and chaplaincy roles at Georgetown University, Claremont School of Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Bruce is currently a professor in spirituality, ministry, and theology in the doctoral program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He has served as pastor or interim pastor of congregations in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is the author or co-author of over 35 books in the areas of theology, spirituality, ministerial excellence and spiritual formation, scripture, and healing and wholeness, including Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God; Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job; From Here to Eternity: Preparing for the Next Adventure; and A Center in the Cyclone: Clergy Self-care in the 21st Century.