Wednesday, May 24, 2006

May 22, 2006 - Elders and Deacons Step Up

This evening, Claire and I walk across the street to another one of our church’s bi-monthly healing services (these are on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, at 7:30). While we’ve offered healing services occasionally in the past, this year marks our first attempt at instituting such a service on a regular basis.

It’s a brief, low-key service, loosely based on the healing services of Scotland’s Iona Community. Robin, our associate pastor, was instrumental in the overall planning. Now that we’ve got our act together, elders and deacons from the church have pretty much taken over the leadership of these services – which is something I’m very glad to see.

It does a pastor’s heart good when church members step up and take on responsibilities such as this. It makes me feel like the concept of the priesthood of all believers is actually getting through to people.

It’s becoming a familiar routine by now: some brief prayers and readings, followed by a time when worshipers can come forward, if they wish, and kneel for prayer and the laying on of hands. Nothing is said about why, exactly, particular individuals may be “standing in the need of prayer” – as the old gospel hymn puts it. Folks just step up, kneel down, and the people of God gather ‘round to administer this ancient sign. It’s a moving and intimate moment.

It’s all over in less than a half-hour. We go on our way feeling touched by the love of others, and of God.

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