In a curious story, Jesus’ disciples return to their teacher, rather proud of themselves. (Mark 9:38-41) They report: “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t one of us.” They expect to be congratulated for maintaining the purity of Jesus’ teaching. Instead, Jesus tells them not to stop him, for despite his being a stranger to them, he is doing God’s healing work.
There are many pathways to healing and wholeness, some within Christian circles, others from beyond the circle of Christ’s explicit followers. In reflecting on the nature of truth, early Christian theologians asserted that “wherever truth is present, God is its source.” I would add that “wherever truth and healing are present, God is its source, even when the name of Jesus is not mentioned.” God’s healing presence is found in Christian laying on of hands and prayer, but also in acupuncture, Native American rituals and medicines, traditional Chinese medicine, African medicine, and reiki healing touch, to name a few techniques. God’s aim at healing and wholeness is global. Accordingly, while maintaining a critical eye in relationship to any medical practice, including some forms of Western technical medicine, followers of Jesus can faithfully practice a variety of healing techniques.
I have benefited for over twenty years from the practice of reiki healing touch, a Japanese form of healing touch that energizes body, mind, and spirit. I talk about the relationship of reiki and Christianity in Reiki Healing Touch and the Way of Jesus (Northstone Books). Those who follow Jesus are invited to use whatever brings healing and wholeness to humankind, whether technological medicine, herbs, healing energy, visualization, prayer, and meditation.
Today, seek to broaden your vision of healing through the following affirmations:
God is present in every healing path.
God seeks to bring healing and wholeness to every person.
Wherever there is healing, God is its source.
Take time to awaken to the many paths of healing and wholeness, reflecting the gifts of many cultures and faith traditions.
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