Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunday's sermon and healing ministry: Please pray

I was well into the outline of a very different sermon when I sensed God telling me to stop and start over - this very short and simple message emerged. The Gospel will be proclaimed this way at the healing service - a bit read, then a bit of teaching. We will move from the Gospel message directly into healing ministry at the altar. Please pray for God's blessing on our offering and most of all for his healing touch on those who bring their needs.
Sermon for July 19th
Fr. Timothy Fountain

Healing Prayer Sunday – A Reflection on the Gospel of Mark

1) The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.
The church need not have a big, splashy plan to “do miracles” or “put on a healing service.” The power we seek is with Jesus, even when we are tired or wrapped up in other demands. Jesus can bring healing right here, right now – it isn’t something the church conjures or manipulates. It’s not magic, it’s Jesus with us through the Holy Spirit.

2) Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
Don’t focus on your disposition, but on the compassion of Jesus. Notice that the Good Shepherd shows compassion to “the crowd.” These were the drop-ins, the lookie-loos. They were not his committed disciples or chosen apostles. This tells us that his compassion is here, however near to him or how far from him our hearts and understandings might be.

3) When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
If you are seeking healing, get “the church” out of the way. Don’t worry about “if you’ve been good enough,” don’t worry about if you’ve followed the service well enough – notice that the people in need are carried right to Jesus himself – that’s where we want to go in our prayers for healing right now.

Notice that it doesn’t take much – indeed, people who are sick are “on their mats” – they don’t have power to put on some “holy” or heroic show. It was enough just to touch the fringe of Jesus’ cloak. Just to reach out – that’s all we need to do in prayer. The New Testament is very clear that eloquence or length are not required for effective prayer. Just reach out toward God in Jesus’ name.

Finally, be aware that the prayers of others are helping you. Notice how the people carried the sick to Jesus. It’s not the only time this is mentioned – in fact, one of Jesus first healings was in response to the faith of the “lift team” that carried a sick friend to him. The people who have been praying for you, who have encouraged you to receive healing prayer today – they are your “lift team.”

Let’s reach out for Jesus in prayer, and carry our needs and the needs of others to him…
(A time for prayer follows. Those who desire healing prayer are then invited to the altar rail.)


Anonymous said...

I am holding you and your parish in my prayers as I pray for discernment for myself in this time of grieving.

Milton Finch said...

Thank you Father Tim for the sermon. It has touched me deeply here in St. Stephen, South Carolina. Your Christina stength is eviden in all you say and do. Thanks be to God for you and your ministry.

God's Blessings be upon you forever!


Milton Finch said...

Christian and evident were mispelled. I should have checked "preview" first. hehe


TLF+ said...

Dear Milton:

If I had a dime for every typo I posted online... :)

Thanks for the encouragement. May our prayers for healing bring the presence of Jesus himself to those who reach out in need.

And may He speak to you and bless you this weekend.

Milton Finch said...

Father Tim,

God has already answered the prayer for healing from your sermon in that Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina has submitted a letter to the clergy of the diocese of which I found most heart-lifting!

Thank you so much for your blogsite. Keep up the good work and heart of a true believer in God!

Anonymous said...

Very nice thanks for the sharing..................

For 3 Months Enjoy Free 28 Premium Movie Channels