Sermon: Miracles of Healing

Here’s Father Ted’s sermon from Sunday, February 12, 2006:

A leper came to Jesus
begging him, and kneeling he said to him,
“If you choose, you can make me clean.”

The man living with leprosy was quite bold,
first to come up to Jesus
and secondly to boldly say to him,
“If you choose,
you can make me clean.”
Yes,
his statement is bold,
but his coming up to Jesus in the first place
is even more bold,
given that any person with leprosy
was forbidden to come that close
to another person who was not infected.
Leprosy was a horrible, disfiguring, degenerative disease
for which there was no cure,
and people were very, very afraid
of contracting the disease.

As you and I walk through the world each day
there are voices crying out to us and saying,
“If you choose,
you can make me clean.”
These voices may be audible,
but more than likely
they are silent voices
only audible in the tone of a voice,
fleeting eye contact with another,
or the downcast head or drooping shoulders
of a friend or stranger.
These silent, haunting voices
may be discerned
in a portion of a news clip on TV
or the internet
or a news paper.

We live in a world
where those who are in need
or vulnerable in any way
are avoided, abandoned or ignored.
They seem to frighten us.
In some way,
it is as if we are afraid
that if we acknowledge them,
we, too,
will have the same thing happen to us.
Children avoid a child
whose parent has died.
Adults avoid persons
who have been fired or lost a job.

Persons diagnosed with cancer, AIDS
or other frightening diseases
report that family and friends
respond with fear and caution,
avoiding them
and leaving them feeling isolated and alone.
Persons with mental illness or developmental disabilities
are often shunned.
Persons who are older
and in need of supportive care
are often abandoned to professional care givers.
Persons who are different in any way
find themselves shunned and isolated.

Jesus restored
not only the health of the person living with leprosy,
but also restored
that person?s dignity and place in the human community.
Yes,
we live in a world full of persons
who experience life in much the same way
as the leper who confronted Jesus this morning.
And like Jesus
a choice is put before us each day.
We and the church of which we are a part
can either perpetuate
the isolation and abandonment of God?s children,
or we can choose, with Jesus,
to be the bearers of God?s healing,
reaching out and touching,
yes, embracing,
those who frighten us the most,
risking contamination
for loves sake.
Loving, compassionate words,
healing, compassionate embraces,
make invisible persons, visible,
restore the health and dignity of persons
who are ill, frightened and isolated.
These are miracles of healing
which only you or I can work.
Will you,
will I,
be known as miracle workers?
Will our congregation be known
as a place where miracles of love and compassion
take place every day?

Text: Mark 1:40-45


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