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Friday, June 17, 2016

Today’s Reading | Matthew 8:15–17 

He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah, “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (NRSV)

This passage speaks of two ways that Jesus’ healing powers made a difference in people’s lives. He touched Peter’s mother-in-law, healed her fever, and then went on to heal many others of their emotional and spiritual ills. My question is how do we relate to this today and continue to experience Jesus’ healing in our lives?

I recently woke at 4:30 a.m. to symptoms of a heart attack. In the hospital, the emergency medical team realized the seriousness of my blockage and rushed me to the surgical lab. I knew it was important to stay calm and positive. As I lay on the gurney being guided to a life-saving procedure, an image from a church in Antigua, Guatemala, came to me. A mural there contains the image of Jesus in the midst of a surgery, guiding the surgeon’s hand. I remembered this painting and imagined Jesus being present in that high-tech room of bustling urgent activity. It was very reassuring and calming to imagine Jesus supporting all the work being done on my behalf.

Days after, my sleep and dreams were laced with panic as I struggled with a pervasive feeling of not being able to get enough breath. All of my known calming and meditation techniques did not give the relief I needed. A song written by the Waterboys, whose lyrics repeatedly state “every breath is yours, beloved,” became my companion. This music calmed me as I realized my breath was a gift from God, and I imagined Jesus facilitating my breathing. These experiences reminded me that Jesus continues to be a powerful healing presence and available resource in our lives today.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being present with us every step of the way as we go through life contending with all that life deals us. Help us to take full advantage of your healing presence and to be agents of your healing love to others through acts of kindness and presence. Amen.

Written by Thomas Schemper, Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being

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