Advent Healing Service

December 8, 2013
South Presbyterian Church
Rochester, NY

This Healing Service was included as part of Sunday Worship on the second Sunday of Advent. 

Invitation

Healing was an important part of the ministry of Jesus. It is a way that we, as his church, are able to address the wholeness of the people. The Shalom, the PEACE that passes all understanding.

 In these services for wholeness, we enact in our worship our ministry as a healing community.

 Healing is to be understood not as the result of the holiness, earnestness, or skill of those enacting the prayers, or of the faith of the ones seeking healing, but as the gift of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 Prayer

Let us pray …

We ask your presence among us, O God, Creator of the universe, Sustainer of life, Redeemer of humankind; 

Bring your healing light and power into our wounded  hearts and bodies and minds and souls, clear the way for each of us to discover within ourselves the fullness of your power and all of your wondrous blessings; help us dear God to respond to your vast love and to bless you,  so that we may be a beacon through which you may shine into the world and be everlasting citizens of your Kingdom both in heaven and on earth.   Amen.

 Reading                  

Hear this reading from the   Letter of  James 5:13-16

13 Are any in your community suffering? They should pray. Are any celebrating? They should sing praises to God. 14 Are any sick? They should call the elders of your church and ask them to pray. They will gather around and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Prayers offered in faith will restore them from sickness and bring them to health. The Lord will lift them up from the floor of despair; and if the sickness is due to sin, then God will forgive their sins. 16 So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life.

This is the word of the Lord.                Thanks be to God

Care Comment – The Need for Healing in Advent                            Pastor Deb

         Advent is a really unique time in our year because we know what’s coming. You can ask any child and they will tell you that Christmas is coming in just a little while. And for most children, Christmas is a time of wonder and merriment.

        But as we get older, Christmas takes on a different kind of meaning, too. For some of us, it’s a time of sadness … we remember those who aren’t with us any more … or we remember relationships that have ended. Sometimes it’s a time of anxiety because we have to be with family members that we don’t get along with. For SOME of us, it may be a time when we WANT to believe but we’re just not there yet and we feel EMPTY … the commercialism gets to us and we just feel EMPTY.

        So Advent is a PERFECT time to ask God to heal us.

        Heal us and bring us into the place of perfect BALANCE … of perfect SHALOM … of ONENESS with the Spirit of the season that reflects the beauty of the Christ Child.

        And for those of us who are Christian, that healing and rebalancing … that Shalom and Oneness comes to us through the work of the community of faith.

        This is the season of Light … the coming of the Light … the sun begins its trek back toward spring and summer on the Winter Solstice and we know that Jesus is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Our Jewish brothers and sisters have just finished celebrating their Festival of Lights and the miracle that allowed the flame to continue for eight days, so this yearning for the light is pretty much universal.

        Whether you will be praying for your OWN healing, for the healing of someone you know and love … for the healing of a total stranger whom you have heard about … or healing for our environment … our planet … or our nation … this is the time to seek the Lord’s hand upon you and acknowledge your woundedness so that the Spirit of God can flood you with the healing balm of hope and peace.

        I invited you in a moment or two to come forward and light a candle as you say a prayer for the healing you wish to receive … for yourself or someone else. And after you have done that, if you would like to receive an anointing with oil, come over to the side here where one of the Elders will join me as we offer a blessing for you during this Holy Season.

 Blessing of the Oil

          Throughout history, oil has been used to mark sacred events and special occasions as a sign of setting something or someone apart, and consecrating or blessing them.

        Let us pray:  Holy God of New Beginnings, of Healing and Shalom … bless this oil that the one who administers it and the one who receives it may know your Light and your Love and experience the Healing Presence of your Holy Spirit, we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 Anointing & Blessing

You are invited to come forward, light a candle, and then join us on the side here for a blessing with (or without) oil, with one of the Teaching Elders and one of the Ruling Elders. As you stand in line, please extend your hand to the shoulder of the person in front of you and share your prayers for their wellness as well.

 Closing Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray in unison the prayer found in your bulletin …

Heavenly, Holy Healer: we complete this time of healing and wholeness knowing that your healing presence goes with us and will continue long after we have left this place. Watch over us and guide us to make wise decisions regarding our health. Bring us to a state of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual Shalom and help us to share that wholeness with everyone we meet. Hear us now as we pray the prayer Jesus taught us.

 Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

 Our Closing Hymn  is #110                        Love Has Come (Stanzas 1 & 2) All who are able, please stand.
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