We are beginning a new sermon series this week called Healing in a Time of COVID. And I am excited about it.
I know. I know.
Thousands and thousands of people have COVID. Here in Iowa right now we have one of the highest rates of transmission in the world. This impacts our schools and our health care systems and our economy. All this has created stress and emotional suffering. More than 1,100 people have died in Iowa. Racism has created a painful wound in our country. Our prayer list is long. Many people are facing health issues. I know people who are struggling in their marriages.
There are all sorts of really good reasons to question whether healing is possible.
And yet, in my soul, I am convinced God is inviting us to heal. I find myself looking around for the flow of grace and wisdom, evidence that God is waking us up to the healing God is offering.
Healing, according to the Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling, is “the process of being restored to bodily wholeness, emotional well-being, mental functioning, and spiritual aliveness.”
- A process. It takes time and involves steps.
- Restored. Getting back to the well-being God intends for us. Back on solid ground.
- Bodily wholeness. A physical sense that our body is whole and healthy. Nothing of our bodies is shameful. I know there are those who face serious medical issues. I think the healing described here includes physical issues but is more than physical health.
- Emotional well being. Contentment. Satisfaction. Free from anxiety and fear.
- Spiritual aliveness. Alive! Ready for our souls to dance in the Spirit. Breathing in goodness. Greeting the day with expectation.
Healing also mends relationships, brings social justice, and peace to communities and nations.
What better time than now to set up our radar and watch for healing and follow where it leads us?
In John 5, Jesus approaches a man who has been sick for 38 years. He offers excuses as to why he has lingered so long in his illness. And then Jesus asks, “Do you want to be made well?” The obvious answer would be “of course!” but like the man who has been sick for so long, often we are not ready to give up what has made us sick. Do we want to be made well? Enough to give up unhealthy patterns of thinking and living? Enough to risk giving up the familiar? Enough to step away from greed and selfishness? Enough to do what needs to be done so that our neighbors can be well too?
Lots of questions to ask. I don’t have all the answers.
I just know that I am feeling the healing presence of God.
And I also believe God will not stop until we are well.
Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
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We worship on line on Sunday morning at 9:30 and post our service so you can watch it any time. Join us!
This week at WDMUMC:
New Sermon Series begins this Sunday. Pastor Trevor will kick off our new sermon series Healing in a Time of COVID. We’ll be exploring the ways that Jesus discusses healing. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 to prepare.
Helping Out In Cedar Rapids. The Missions Team is pulling together two small trips to Cedar Rapids to help with clean up from the derecho. Both trips will be only one-day trips. Contact Pastor Trevor if you are interested.
What Is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories can Change the Way you Think and Feel About Everything That’s the title of a book by Rob Bell, and Pastor Trevor is inviting you to read it with him. Contact Pastor Trevor if you are interested.
Third Grade Bibles! The church would like every third grader to have a bible. On the week of September 20, bibles will be dropped off at every third grader’s home and on Sunday morning during worship, we will have a special moment to bless them. If you have a third-grader or someone older who has not received a Bible, please let Pastor Trevor or Alice Burress know. If you have a grandchild or neighbor who would like one, we would love to share it with them as well. Many thanks to Alice Burress for her work in children’s ministry. And special appreciation to Ken Clark and the memorial to his wife Nancy that makes these bibles available.
And Monday at 10:30 we will ring the bell in memory of those in Iowa who have died from COVID in the last week.
By the way, I need an army cot or a stretcher as a prop for my sermon. Does anyone have one?