A message from Rev. Jim
Dear Members and Friends of CCEH,
In my sermon message last Sunday, April 19, I spoke of how the touch of Christ brings healing and wholeness. Drawing on the story John tells about the encounter between the freshly risen Christ and Thomas, Christ offers touch to Thomas which resulted in a spiritual awakening, a spiritual healing. It is especially helpful in these times of isolation.
During his earthly ministry Jesus was recognized as a person whose touch had power. He often demonstrated how this healing can happen at a distance – virtually – such as the healing of the royal official’s son (John 4:46-52) and the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30). He also instructed his followers that they too are able to do these things, if they but allow themselves to be vehicles of the Holy Spirit.
It’s important also to note that “healing” in scripture sometimes involves actual curing, but not always. Rather, healing is most centrally about being made whole again. Put differently, to be healed is to be brought into union again with Christ, which can happen regardless of one’s physical condition as in, “The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need…” from Psalm 23.
In the centuries since, spiritual masters have practiced the art of healing touch virtually – at a distance. At the end my message I invited you into a spiritual healing visualization exercise in which you would allow yourself to be a vehicle of this powerful healing energy. First, bring to mind an image of Christ, perhaps the one who encountered Thomas – the wounded Christ: (“Put your finger here, Thomas, reach out your hand….”); then bring to mind someone who needs the power of Jesus’ touch – someone feeling isolated, broken hearted, invisible, anxious, confused, or unloved. Next, merge the two images in your mind, and as you do so repeat the words of Christ, “Peace be with you,” knowing that the Risen Christ breathes the healing power of the Holy Spirit into your image.
As bearers of the Image of God you and I can channel this healing energy of Christ.
If your prayer is, “Lord, touch me, touch my life,” then do that too: “Risen One, touch me, grasp me, hold me up, open my heart to your mysterious healing love.
Whatever overwhelms, Christ offers, “Peace be with you.”
• Whatever fears churn your mind, “Peace be with you.”
• Whatever sins trouble your conscience, “Peace be with you.”
• Whatever pain and worry bind, “Peace be with you.”
• Whatever walls you have put up, or doors you have locked to protect you from the consequences of being yourself, “Peace be with you.”
The beautiful song by Ray Repp echoes Christ’s words:
Peace I leave with you my friends,
Shalom, my peace, in all you do.
Peace I leave with you, my friends.
I give to you so you can give to others, too.
If you missed an online Zoom worship service or want to view one again, the below link will take you to where they are archived on our church website:
Please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email for pastoral support – a prayer, a conversation. Your questions and concerns are most welcomed.
Rev. Jim’s Office Hours: Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Join by clicking here (https://hartsem.zoom.us/j/246611260) anytime during that hour. If you prefer to call in by phone, dial 646 558 8656 and enter the meeting ID: 246 611 260.
Your grateful pastor,