Wholeness & Healing Service
Wholeness and Healing Service
We held another Wholeness and Healing Service on May 9th and a lot of people responded so positively to it that it seemed a good idea to include an article in the June ‘Searchlight’. The format for the service is very simple with the first part focusing on the word of God and with a brief sermon on the role of the healing ministry in today’s world. We were helped in this by a very good sermon by Kay Dyer and some wonderful music sung by the Choir. The second part of the service was to focus on prayer and the ministry of anointing with special oil on the hands was offered. There is good precedent in the Bible for the use of oil in both Old and New Testaments and it represents the outpouring of God’s love for us. Where there are wounds God is able, by his Spirit, to reach us in powerful ways and to reassure us that we are of immeasurable value in his sight and to begin the slow process of restoring us to fullness of life once again.
As the ministry of prayer took place so a minister stood behind each person and laid hands lightly on their shoulders, thus reminding each one that we are not alone and can draw strength from our common humanity. I am very grateful to the team who on this occasion were : Susie Fletcher, David Challis, Kay Dyer and Bob Macvie.
We turn the furniture around for Wholeness and Healing to face the south window and there is a very special sense of God’s presence which many have commented on. Printed below are one or two reflections by people who attended.
Revd. James Warren
Wholeness and healing are very gentle processes, the Holy Spirit ministers God’s love to us in the way that is best for us and easiest for us to receive. Jesus knew how easily the human spirit could be disturbed or perplexed by things that happened suddenly or without warning, so he would always reassure those he was speaking to, by asking what he could do for them, rather than imposing his solutions on their problems.
Although those watching Jesus healing people could see for themselves what appeared to be wrong with many of the people who came to him, what they could not see were their underlying insecurities or problems with family relationships. Jesus understood how these factors could have contributed to the person’s illness and present physical state and so he would heal the whole person, not just their symptoms.
The way that human beings function is very complex and so there can be many factors that affect our wellbeing, but one thing we can be assured of, is that God knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows our needs before we even voice them in prayer. After Jesus returned to his father in heaven at the Ascension, he sent his Holy Spirit to be with the first disciples and his Spirit has remained with us throughout the centuries, so that we can have access to the same power to heal that Jesus had when he walked the earth.
This means that we can experience God’s love for us through the intervention of the Holy Spirit in our lives and not only for ourselves but for those we are closely connected to. God is fully aware of the networks of relationships that we are part of, so that when someone comes forward for prayer and James anoints their hands with oil, they can be silently bringing before God not only their own needs, but those of anyone that they love who would like to receive God’s blessing too.
A musicians perspective.
We felt a sense of anticipation in the run up to our second Wholeness and Healing service on May 9th. The ‘pilot ‘ was the previous October and all concerned felt that the format of the service had worked well.
As with any special service, there is always the challenge of finding appropriate music and fitting words for the occasion. In the organising and rehearsing of the music, you find yourself preparing for the experience of the service itself. This time of preparation is a bonus, in that you don’t just get the experience on the day, but also the build up of expectation.
When the time arrives, as you work away in the background with the choir, endeavouring to enhance the feeling of stillness and calm with hymns and anthems, there is a real sense of being enveloped in the spirit and atmosphere.
As we were reminded in the service, wholeness and healing can come in many forms. As a family, this time, our focus was understandably on physical healing with our elder daughter Laura about to face her second major operation this year. There were many strong emotions as we came forward together with the girls for anointing towards the close of the service. However, there was a clear sense afterwards of being better able to cope with what we know to be ahead of us.
This ministry has a definite role in the life of the church. If you haven't attended one yet, look out for the date of the next one in October.
Larry and Rosemary Robson ( Directors of Music )
However, the service proved to be rather revealing. First, it provided a distinct contrast to the liturgy driven services, like the Sunday Eucharist, where the pattern is predictable and secure and where, the intercessional prayers notwithstanding, one can feel almost too comfortable and unchallenged. In contrast, the healing service was, for me at least, a much more contemplative, calm, reflective service in which James, his team and the choir were gentle facilitators, not leading or directing the congregation. There was, to use a current phrase, "No pressure", and the gentle, supportive format worked very well.
Secondly, the contemplative nature of the service gave one a real chance, real time to think, in God's presence. It gave one the chance to think questions such as "If I am blessed with good health and feel whole, why am I here?" Such personal enquiry led to other questions such as "For whom, then, should I seek health and healing?" In thought and in quiet contemplation answers to these and other questions came to me.
I left the service feeling that it had met a real need, a need that I suspect many of us have, to seek, beyond or in addition to medicinerelief from the physical, emotional or mental stresses and afflictions which can so easily beset us. I left feeling, too, that it had given me a real opportunity to look outside myself and to consider the needs and difficulties that others have and intercede to God for them. I found that to be an enriching experience. I am glad that I attended the service.
Hilary Mattocks writes: I went to the Wholeness and Healing Service on Sunday afternoon 9th May, and found the whole service very powerful and yet also serene. I'm not sure exactly what I expected.