From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear PPPC –

It has been quite some time since PPPC had a worship service focused on healing and wholeness….

What is a worship service of healing and wholeness? As it is described in our PC(USA) Book of Worship:

“God calls the Church to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, caring for one another, sharing joys and sorrows, providing support in times of stress and need, and offering admonition, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Relying on Christ’s grace and the Spirit’s gifts, the church seeks to shepherd its members through times of danger and death, illness and loss, crisis and celebration, struggle and sin.

Services of wholeness and healing are one way of enacting the church’s ministry of pastoral care. The central element in these services is prayer, calling upon God’s saving grace or giving thanks for healing received. A service of wholeness includes the proclamation of the Word, focusing on the promise of abundant life in Christ. Prayer may be enacted through the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, provided that these actions are carefully introduced and interpreted: healing always comes as a gift from God, not as a product of human prayer.”

What will this look like practically?

Worship will look mostly as it always does. The meditation will be a little bit shorter, the hymns and liturgy will be focused on wholeness. There will be an opportunity to come forward and receive a prayer or blessing, and anointing. There is no pressure to come forward. You might simply find that time a meaningful time of personal prayer in the pews or online.

It seems fitting for this service to happen in Lent, a season in which we have been marked by ashes, reminded of our mortality. That we also might, in the very same season, be marked for healing and wholeness; knowing that it comes only from God.

We read in James 5:14-15 about the practice of anointing with oil as a symbol of healing prayer in the earliest Christian communities: “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.”

And of course, this does not erase a reality we know, that many will not be healed on this side of the grave. But perhaps there is something to this, that in sharing our burdens, we move more toward wholeness, in Jesus Christ our Lord. May it be so.

Yours for the journey,
Pastor Molly