Your Faith Has Healed You
I pray before bed every night, using either the Universalist Prayer Book or the King's Chapel Prayer Book. I read some of the gospels or the psalms. It's weird how much this practice has begun to affect me in all that I do. Meanness and self-hating is so much less. Fear of death much less. Compassion and curiosity, up. Noticing that my body is stressed, way up. I just figured out that I crunch my shoulders up around my neck as I type (and as I do most things, actually).
You wouldn't think that teacher Jesus would have anything to teach me about my tense shoulders, but it's a holistic thing. Jesus is very physical. I get this in a new way now.
Last night I was reading out of Luke and got to the wonderful stories (one embedded in the other) of the Woman With the Flow of Blood and Jairus' Daughter. I read the encounter between the woman and Jesus about half a dozen times (in the NIV, which I just like so much) before I got something: she reaches out for healing, and that's why she is healed. I know this is going to strike Christians as the biggest DUH moment of all time, but I always focused before on the total embarrassment of the woman having to be like, "Um, sorry dude, it was me touching your robe." I always pictured Peter looking at her with totally impatient irritation and Jesus kind of surprised, and then giving her the kind word, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."
Last night, what really became vivid for me was the image of this suffering woman reaching out to the hem of Jesus' robe. He was whisking through the crowd so fast, and she was a nobody, an untouchable. Still, she reached out. She knew who he was, and she wanted healing so badly she got herself into close enough proximity to him to partake of his mojo. Man, I admire that.
That woman became my hero last night; me, who if a healing guru was coming to town would probably be in the back of the room thinking, "How nice that all those suffering people are going up to be healed. Isn't that touching. Well, this has been an interesting little sociological study, but I really should get home and get back to work."
Then I would drive home with my shoulders hunched up around my ears listening to some educational podcast on the stereo, get home and do some writing, go to bed, and wake up with an anxiety attack, go back to sleep, and wake up and get back to work.
But it's so nice that all those people went up for healing. Isn't that touching.
I certainly would never need to do that.
Here's a totally hilarious church production photo of the raising of Jairus' daughter: http://www.radiant-life-church.com/adults/productions/ThePromise/photos2004/At%20Jairus%20house.jpg
You can tell that the guy playing Jesus is so appalled by the eye shadow of the girl playing the daughter that he forgot his next line.
(For some non-Christian spiritual healing resources, this is neat: http://www.ringingrocks.org/www/index.php?order_ropes)