I wrote this litany of healing several years ago. However, this year I have adapted it to be more directly applicable to the time of COVID and have included contemplative actions that encourage us to reflect on the healing power of God in the many ways it is expressed. I have found that the combination of prayers and actions like this are powerful ways to enable our congregations to express their feelings and to enter more intimately into the reassuring presence of God.
Loving and compassionate God, Lord of all health and wholeness, We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for your miracle of healing. You gift our bodies with incredible means of protection and repair, Immune systems that shield and heal us, Wounds that heal, bones that knit, tissues that repair themselves. Thank you for your miracle of healing. You gift our world with plants and herbs that cure our diseases. They provide our medicines and pain killers, They form the basis of our antibiotics and antiseptics. Thank you for your miracle of healing. You gift us with the wonder of preventative health. Masks that protect us and others from infection. Water and soap to cleanse our hands and the surfaces we touch. Thank you for your miracle of healing. You gift us with the power to reconcile and be reconciled. Ways to build bridges and not walls, Ways to listen and learn and seek forgiveness for the wounds we have inflicted. Thank you for your miracle of healing.
Grab one of your masks. Examine the simplicity of it – 3 layers of cloth to protect you and your loved ones from a deadly disease. Put it on. Take some deep breaths in and out though the cloth and thank God for the protection it provides. Now go and wash your hands with soap and warm water. Wipe down your counters with water and bleach. Thank God for these simple preventative health measures, that slow the spread of COVID and other contagious diseases.
God, you are the great physician but often you use others as your instruments of healing. Today, we honor the dedicated doctors and nurses and all that cooperate with God in the healing process who have worked tirelessly to preserve life during these challenging times.
In the words of Ecclesiasticus 38:1-15,
Hold the physician in honour, for he is essential to you, and God it was who established his profession. From God the doctor has his wisdom, and the king provides for his sustenance. His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished, and gives him access to those in authority. God makes the earth yield healing herbs which the prudent man should not neglect; Was not the water sweetened by a twig that men might learn his power? He endows men with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works, Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; Thus God’s creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth. My son when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you; Flee wickedness; let you hands be just, cleanse your heart of every sin; Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and petition, a rich offering according to your means. Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too. There are times that give him an advantage, and he too beseeched God That his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure. He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen
Read through these verses slowly once more. Think of doctors and nurses who have treated you, your loved ones and those who suffer from COVID. Bring to mind those who have calmed your anxieties during this stressful season. Offer a prayer of gratitude for their dedication and expertise.
Let us pray, too, for those who are in need of healing.
Jesus, you came to save and heal us. You healed the sick and raised the dead, You touched lepers and outcasts, Heal those we love who are sick today. Jesus, you came to save and heal us. You stopped on the way to the rich man’s daughter, To heal the woman abandoned and despised because of an issue of blood, May we reach out to help all who suffer from COVID and other infectious diseases today. Jesus, you came to save and heal us. You raised a poor woman’s son from death, And promised that one day all children will have a full life, Be with those who have cancer and chronic illnesses today. Jesus, you came to save and heal us. You gave you disciples power to cure disease, And sent them out to heal the sick and to preach the good news of the kingdom, Be with those who suffer from mental illnesses today. Jesus, you came to save and heal us. May we, too, be worthy disciples and become your caring hands, Anointing others with your healing balm and bringing them to health and wholeness. Give wisdom to those who suffer from allergies and food intolerances today. Jesus, you came to save and heal us, have mercy on us.
God, you heal our wounds and cure our diseases. May we never take for granted your healing touch through the guidelines of preventative health and the wonderful systems you have placed within our bodies to keep us healthy. May we never take for granted the wonder of tissues that heal and bones that knit. May we view with awe our immune systems that destroy bacteria and viruses. May we embrace with gratitude the medicinal plants that give birth to antibiotics, heart stimulants and pain killers. May we never reject the power of your body that was broken and your blood that was shed to bring us wholeness.
The Cross is probably the most powerful symbol of, and power for, healing in the world. Its redeeming and transforming power brings healing to body soul and spirit – and beyond that, it brings healing to communities, and eventually will bring healing to our entire broken world. Find a small cross that you could hold in your hand this week as a reminder of God’s redemptive power and its ability to bring healing to body, soul and spirit. Or is there another item that brings you awareness of God’s healing power that you could keep close to you this week?
God of health, God of wholeness, God of love, Heal our bodies, Heal our souls, Heal our spirits, Heal our world. Go into the world knowing you are touched by the God who heals. May your life shine with the holiness of God. Let your heart be transformed by the peace of Christ. Let your ways be filled with the joy of the spirit. Amen
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