When the wounded come to church
I just returned from a two week trip to Tanzania with a wonderful team of 15 from Seneca Creek. I’ll try not to bore you with too many details, but I did have one experience that pertains to you.
Part of our trip was to bring medical and dental clinics into some of the local villages that have absolutely no healthcare access at all. We spent four days in those villages, and each time we were able to work out of a local church. People lined up all day to get into a church because they needed healing of one sort or another. Infections, broken bones, bleeding, leprosy, scabies, tumors, abscessed teeth, and more.
While I was typically pressed into service as a visiting teacher at the Bible school, I did get to spend one entire day with the rest of our team providing healthcare at a village. Mind you, I wasn’t actually doing any healthcare. (They had me counting tablets into little envelopes, and measuring out creams and ointments, and praying for people!) What I saw was very inspiring. Our team worked together exceptionally well. They used their diverse skills to augment one another, and solve problems that were bigger than any one of us alone.
As I reflected on that day, it occurred to me that I was witnessing a picture of what Jesus intended his church to be: a place where people come for healing. The church is a place where people who’ve been injured by the brokenness of life, by the violence and injustice of others, by the fears that lurk deep inside them. It’s a place for those who have believed the accusations of the enemy of God who whispers things in our ear like, “you’re not good enough, you’re damaged goods, you’ll never amount to anything, you’re a mistake, etc.”
So if you’re tempted to avoid being with the church because you’re wounded, or depressed, or rejected, or discouraged, or worse, please reconsider. As a church, we have a duty to become a place of healing. For people like you. And me. And all of us. And before you walk in the door of one of our worship gatherings, why not pray a simple prayer like this:
“God, help me to extend the healing power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel to someone here today.”
Then watch and see if people don’t start lining up to join us because they need to be healed.
I look forward to seeing you this weekend.