Modern medicine is no less a miracle than the healing hand of Jesus reaching out to a leper, blind man or bleeding woman. Not for the first time, it has saved my life. What is now considered a rather simple solution to a rather simple problem did not exist twenty years ago, and without it I would not be here writing this blog note. In spite of being in good overall health, not overweight, having no threatening personal habits and habitually eating a heart healthy diet, I got felled by an occluded coronary artery in which was lodged an unstable blood clot. From the ER on a Monday a week ago to back home on Wednesday two days later with a stent and bucketful of new meds – you have to admit that’s pretty amazing. What’s more amazing is that mine has become a common place story, and though for my family it was a life threatening, anxiety producing, moment of sheer terror, it is, for most others, little more than a ho-hum tale and no cause for concern. That may be, but, in combination with my experiences as a pastor and fire department chaplain, I see it as something of a sacrament with Christ in, with and under all of it in all the real presence of the Eucharist.
5 thoughts on “Does Jesus Still Heal?”
I think a lot of folks would agree that the medical technology, techniques and pharmaceuticals available to us today can prevent, correct and/or cure a wide range of ills. I\’m glad they\’re there and would not hesitate to make use of them if needed. But within and beyond it all, Christ remains the great healer.
I feel like my life was saved also by the application of miraculous modern medicine, and associated care givers. I too felt a presence beyond the human and physical in the process. Here is an excerpt from a presentation I have made to a few hundred people regarding my experience. I hope it is exemplary of your point, and worthy of consideration by your readers.\”In February, I spent a week in Trinity Medical Center Hospital in Brenham fortreatment of bacterial pneumonia. I was very ill by the time I was admitted to thehospital. Marilyn provided comfort, aid, and advocacy around the clock during myfirst two days in hospital. As I gained strength from treatment and care, she was ableto rest at home during the nights.\”Early Thursday morning as I lay in the dark and quiet, I surveyed my situation. I wasill but recovering. I found myself alone, but not lonely. My heart was warmed by thelove that was poured on me. My circle of support includes family, dear friends,friends, and acquaintances. I received support even from people I know not by name,but who held me in their prayers.When I shared the experience of being flooded with love in the quiet, early morning,my friend, Carl replied, \’Maybe coincidentally, 4:30 a.m. is just about the time that Itypically get up for a trip to the bathroom. I do remember thinking about you on atleast one of those trips this week, hehe.\’ Was it coincidence?\”My experience was heartwarming and memorable. Cultivate your circle of support byoffering the love of Christ when you have the opportunity. Receive and enjoy suchlove when it is offered to you.\”I\’m pleased that your and I were saved physically by miraculous modern medicine. I hope our experiences make us even more aware of, and willing to share, the presence of God in this world where we have been give the opportunity to live for a bit longer.The \”Geezer\” Dude
I had wondered what had gone on, Steve, and I\’m so glad that it all has turned out well. I also confess that I\’d like to hear you say a bit more about \”I see it as something of a sacrament with Christ in, with and under all of it in all the real presence of the Eucharist.\” Precisely what is the \”it\” here? The sheer fact of successful technological intervention, or, say, the spirit in which and by which that intervention took place? Or perhaps just what it means now to be able to look back at a gift freely given? Tom
Tom, great question.I guess I was starting first from the question, does Jesus still heal? More than a few are able to think of the healing power of God only in terms of miracles that come through prayer and the Holy Spirit in ways that bypass ordinary medical care. For some that leads to the conclusion that if God ever did engage in direct healing, he does so no longer. Others do discover God\’s direct healing, but only in spite of, or even opposed to, human medical care. In either case it comes down to God not caring, or not caring unless the right prayers are offered by the right people who have the right kind of faith. I want to contrast that with our theology that apprehends God in very materialistic ways. The incarnation is the most dramatic form of that, and the Eucharist, in which we see God in Christ as truly present in, with and under the bread and wine, is a substantive echo of it. With that in mind, what is there to prevent us from seeing God as Eucharistically present in, with and under the hands, machines and chemicals of modern medical care? Our liturgical tradition teaches that God\’s presence in the Eucharist becomes manifest through prayers of invocation culminating in what we call the epiclesis wherein the celebrant petitions God to send the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine bringing into it the true presence of Christ. There is a fine line between understanding the epiclesis as an opening of our hearts to a deeper understanding of God\’s presence or a magical incantation, and that\’s something we always have to struggle with. That aside, I don\’t see much difference between the Eucharistic prayer offered at the altar and the desperate prayer for God\’s healing presence incoherently blurted out in the back of an ambulance, lying in the ER, or alone, awake and anxious in the middle of the night in a strange hospital room.
CP – beautiful post and comments. I believe that even if we choose not to cry aloud for God\’s healing touch that the Holy Spirit remains with us in times of illness and loss. Would that we all could or would allow acknowledgment of that presence. However, I believe that God cares not for the acknowledgment but for the healing – God is faithful even when we forget how to be that ourselves. With all my words about God\’s faithfulness, one might be led to ask, well then why bother? It\’s so much work and as you (I) would see it, it doesn\’t need to be done anyway. Well, that\’s the faithfulness bit for me – the really precious part of faithfulness – w/God on our side and our faith \”knowing\” that to be true, the blessings and healing are ever more radical in their manifestation.