It would be an understatement to say that time has changed, especially since the time when Jesus was walking through the towns of Judea. The change in technology and industry in just the last two centuries has brought about a radically different world view and now with our modern transportation and internet the world is seen in much more global ways.
When Jesus healed someone it was miraculous and life changing. We look at such events now and try to understand them in light of vast medical advancements. When Jesus cast out a demon from someone there is a tendency to wonder how this would be seen today, and how much of these episodes were the result of mental health issues. We have no way of knowing how much, how many and to what degree the various miracles took place. Whether they were in fact greater or less than reported, many of the writings describing them were written down generations after the events. But somehow something did happen, to the effect that people were writing about it generations latter.
What is known is that Jesus healed people, physically, spiritually, and mentally. When he came into contact with people; rich or poor, outcasts or friends, he offered an opportunity for healing. The gospel of St. Luke is one that records many of these encounters, and the feast day of St. Luke is October 18th. Luke was thought to have been a physician and is the patron saint of doctors. The experience of Christ, the gathered community of people seeking God in the everyday drama of life through the church has always been a continued opportunity to engage with the same power of God that is manifest in Jesus. Healing is always possible. Sometimes it is physical, sometimes it is a result of finally finding forgiveness, sometimes it is a restoration of a relationship, sometimes it is miraculous, sometimes it happens in ways we do not want. The experience of God’s healing is not to keep us from the journey of our mortality, not to keep us from pain and death. The healing of God is always as an opening to a deeper experience of God in our lives and leads us into a larger understanding of our interconnectedness with all life.
With the arrival of Fall and the shortening of days there also comes the growing awareness of things still left undone with winter approaching, the ongoing challenges of life in Maine in a colder time of year, and the reminder of the people who struggle with mental health issues in our parish and in our communities. Our mental health is one that is far more challenging to address, it cannot be simply fixed like a broken arm. And yet the healing of God is still at work, sometimes over years of work, usually with extremely limited financial resources and almost always with the help of family and friends. We are supporting Andrew Eddy in his pursuit of becoming an ordained deacon, with the expressed hope that such an ordained presence in our communities would add a more pronounced reminder of God at work in the mental health and healing around us. Miracles might not happen in the ways recorded centuries ago, but that is not because the are not happening. It is simply because people’s perceptions and writing styles thousands of years ago are different than those of people today. We are called to be the witnesses of God’s healing in our time, and it is always a life changing, upending and transforming experience to meet Jesus again. It is simply our time to witness such events again and tell the story as we see it.