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It is hard to read Scripture and not take healing seriously. Open any of the gospels, and it only takes a few chapters before you read about Jesus healing someone. Israel’s Messiah was always expected to be a healer, which is why it makes perfect sense that when John the Baptist sent disciples to ask Jesus if he was “the one who is to come,” Jesus sent a report back to John about various ways he healed people —  “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with a skin disease are cleansed, the deaf hear” (Matthew 11:2-5).

Christian leaders and congregations are called to do the courageous work of healing. By “healing,” we do not mean the sensationalized, scripted religious performances portrayed in movies. Healing is real change. To heal is to make someone or something whole again. Physical well-being is part of healing, but authentic healing is more comprehensive and inclusive.

Not only are individuals in need of healing — families, congregations, neighborhoods, cities, the environment and social systems need healing, too. Parents estranged from their children long for emotional and relational healing. Families who face financial challenges understand the need for economic healing. We need systemic healing when school boards fail to seek equitable solutions to educate the whole community.

This is not the time for Christian leaders and congregations to be indifferent or complacent. We can be healers. We can help communities heal when we make housing affordable. We can create welcoming environments for those who struggle with mental or emotional wellbeing. We can equip children and youth with the skills and wisdom to manage conflict, making a long-term investment in the work of healing. We all know what’s broken. Now is the time for God’s healing.


Resources

What can we do to seek healing in the way of Jesus?

Jesus healed through reversal, rescue and restoration. His healing did not just leave bodies and spirits whole. It left communities whole as well, writes a psychiatrist and theologian.

By Warren Kinghorn

A Christian social enterprise offers healing to survivors of violence and abuse

Inspired by her own experience and that of her grandmother, the Rev. Dr. Argrow “Kit” Evans-Ford has established a safe space for women and a bath products business to help support it.

By Susan Flansburg

Recovering reconciliation as the mission of God

In this excerpt from their book “Reconciling All Things,” authors Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice offer 10 theses on reconciliation.

I needed community to be able to heal my spiritual wounds

The author of “Healing Spiritual Wounds” talks about how the church was a source of both wounding and healing.

Q&A with Carol Howard Merritt


Before you go…

Years ago, I moved to a new city to begin a pastorate. I soon learned that the city’s infant mortality rate was one of the highest in the region. To better understand the issue, I scheduled a meeting with the county health director. At lunch, I asked him about the underlying cause for the high infant mortality rates. I expected him to say the problem was lack of prenatal health care or some other medical challenge. To my surprise, he told me that a fundamental factor in infant mortality was poverty. Poverty creates stress that leads to an unhealthy and sometimes fatal environment for newborn babies. That conversation made me see that finding solutions to difficult problems is possible when we enlarge our vision of what healing looks like.

You can always reach me and the Alban Weekly team at alban@duke.edu. Until next week, keep leading!

Prince Rivers

Editor, Alban at Duke Divinity


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