In the healing of a speech and hearing impaired man, Jesus employs spittle along with healing touch. Spittle was vested with curative power in the ancient world. While today, we might consider spittle a folk remedy, it was seen as medicinal in Jesus’ time. From our 21st century perspective, we would say that Jesus was joining prayer and contemporary technical medicine to cure this man.
There is nothing oppositional between technological medicine and healing prayer or laying on of hands. Wherever healing is present, by whatever means available even if God’s name is not mentioned, God is its source. As my colleague, Dr. Dale Matthews says, “prayer and Prozac.” Or, we might say: contemplation and chemotherapy, meditation and medication, and prayer and palliation. God is present in every healing technique. God’s light shines on all healing paths. This opens the door for Christians to use a wide variety of approaches from Chinese energy medicine to Hindu yoga to Native American herbs to promote healing and wholeness. We are challenged to be open to God’s healing touch in every encounter and by any healthy modality.
Wherever healing is present, God is its source.
I am open to God’s many healing modalities.
God’s healing touch comes in many ways.
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