Sharing Worship, Through Healing
by Rev. Karen MacPherson Clark
(This is a shortened version of Rev MacPherson Clark’s paper. For additional info, including footnotes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
It all started when she looked at the hands of her 8 year-old body….. and then, very quietly she said to herself,
“Someday these hands are going to heal others.”
I found this to be an odd statement made by a child. I don’t know why I thought that, for it states in John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to be with the Father.”
Can we really ‘do even greater things’ than what Jesus told us we could do? I doubt it. Yet why would Jesus say these words if He didn’t mean exactly that?
The New Testament is filled with the miracles that Jesus performed. In fact, there were 37 miracles listed in the article ‘Spectacular Miracles of Jesus Christ’ – found on the Bibilium.com website.
Perhaps we should first ask what is a miracle?
The Oxford Dictionary of Phrases and Fable defines miracle as noun; a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.
According to the teachings, of A Course in Miracles, (Channeled by Helen Schucman) a miracle can be interpreted by 50 different principals. The principals are numerous and therefore I have chosen two from the pages of A Course In Miracles.
#3. Forgiveness is the home of miracles. The eyes of Christ deliver them to all they look upon in mercy and in love.
#4. The miracle is taken first on faith, because to ask for it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of what it cannot see and does not understand. Yet faith will bring its witnesses to show that what it rested on is really there. And thus, the miracle will justify your faith in it, and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before; a world redeemed from what you thought was there.
We are surrounded and touched by everyday miracles of life. The birth of a baby. The flight of the bumble bee. The blooming of a flower. The rising of a dandelion seed blown in the wind we cannot see. Or the wisdom of a spider as she spins her web with perfect precision. The touch of another given in love. And the blessings of our God.
It is the gifts of healing for mind, body and soul, that allow me to witness the miracles of healing which makes me believe that we can be “Sharing Worship, Through Healing.”
In the year 2000, illness was causing major issues for my mother. A friend said that she would come and share some healing Therapeutic Touch with my mom. Once the session was over, I was told that “You can learn this. Everyone can do it.”
A few weeks later, I was signed up in a Therapeutic Touch Level One course.
I cannot express how thankful I am for learning this skill. Therapeutic Touch, also called TT, became the only thing that would relax my mom as illness took its toll on her body.
Along with Dora Kunz, a natural healer, Therapeutic Touch first came to be known and documented by Dolores Krieger in 1978. Using her nursing background, Ms. Krieger noticed a change in her patients when her compassionate heart offered TT.
Therapeutic Touch is an energy modality that uses the energy aura around the human body. Everyone has an aura. It is believed that everything within your body is within your aura as well. Therefore, by working within the aura energy healing, TT, can help heal the body.
Therapeutic Touch is not the only healing energy modality. The list of other proven healing procedures is endless. Yet all are done with faith that they are working to help heal the mind, body or soul of another person.
As I have grown in my abilities of using the healing arts, I have found that the most powerful healings happen when the healing is combined with prayer.
I wasn’t aware of how powerful the power of prayer is until I acquired another healing modality designed by Carol McClure Baltkains. Hand-Heart-Healing was developed for the Prayer Ministry Team, of Unity Church, in Kitchener, Ontario. It was this training that encouraged me to use prayer in healing sessions, to set the intention for healing. And Ms. McClure Baltkains, recommended that sessions begin, to first to affirm the presence of God by saying:
”I have faith in God; I have faith in Spirit; I have faith in things invisible.
I have faith, that I am an open and clear channel, for the love and healing energies from Source.”
As time went on, experience using these new found techniques, I could feel the power of prayer in action.
We have been gifted the ability to help others heal through sharing the words of our Lord, Jesus, our teacher of healing, who taught us to pray knowing that the power of prayer would connect us, as we strived to love one another unconditionally.
In John 13:34, Jesus told us: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
It was in those words that I finally understood what really was being communicated. In my opinion, Jesus told us and showed us by his actions that The Power of Love was within us all.
Is worship not the action of expressing the loving of our faith of God?
My conception for healing others through The Power of Prayer and The Power of Love together heightened my spiritual understanding. My ability as a conduit offering healing to others by helping them to relieve issues of mind, body and soul was now given with a Prayer of Intention and sharing God’s love.
I am truly blessed to be an extended arm of the love of God for all creatures. All my life, I have lived by The Golden Rule, written in Matthew 7:12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
In 2012, an opportunity to gather with people who would be interested in helping others to heal was presented. And so, the Community Healing Circle began. We were granted space at St. John’s United Church in Belwood, Ontario to share the gifts bestowed upon us – The Power of Love and Prayer.
Our group meets monthly to extend God’s healing love through prayer. The meeting starts with a grounding meditation, an invitation to God, Jesus and the Healing Angels to join us. We then gather together to offer energy healing to those present and at a distance. Those at a distance, that know we are extending healing have commented that they ‘felt something’ on Wednesday evening.
Part of our Healing Circle involves a Prayer Shawl Ministry. Shawls are caringly made by volunteers and donated to our ministry. The shawls are infused with love throughout the meeting. Then the shawls are blessed with gratitude for the love and healing that God will bequeath upon each shawl to assist in the healing for grief, illness, celebration or traveling afar. We have observed that receivers of the shawls are appreciative no matter what the reason shawls have been gifted to them. For many, just knowing that someone cares means so much.
Betty Hofer, Chair of the Official Board at St. John’s Church, and a member of the Community Healing Circle states: My interest in prayer comes from my church family upbringing. Gratitude and love are central to prayer. We are blessed to be a blessing.
It is a holy mystery to me that loving energy and prayers can help, heal and encourage others. But why not? The sharing of fear causes worry, grief and discouragement. So, I will pray, encourage and send healing energy to those named and unnamed, and for myself.
The Healing Circle has shown me ways to focus and methods to use to send energy and prayer. I am grateful for the group; for the individual healing of others and ourselves; for the opportunity to learn and share. It is through small groups that we open up to new ideas.
I asked Ms. Hofer if she felt one could share worship through healing activities? This was her reply. ‘In as much as worship involves praise and prayer and thanksgiving and requests for healing of the Holy Mystery, God, ….our healing circle is worship. I certainly see it as such.’
I also spoke with Mary Elizabeth Piercy, a Diaconal Minister in the United Church who has had experience with prayer shawl ministry in several different church settings and is passionate about its worth. From her experience of starting a prayer shawl ministry at Trinity United Church in Collingwood, a church that was not familiar with the concept, she writes: I have found the most helpful way of explaining the concept of yarn being infused with prayers and used as a conduit for God’s love was to have people participate in a blessing liturgy that explained this.
Each time the liturgy was shared, the concept of God’s love being able to be shared this way became more understood. Now, we have congregation members coming to us with requests for shawls to gift themselves to people they care about. We have reached the point where it is general knowledge that we have yarn available and people recognize it as a valuable ministry.
In this quiet ministry, there is a sense of blessing all round. Blessing for the crafter, blessing for the congregation offering the blessing, blessing for the person the shawl is gifted to and blessing for the person who is doing the gifting. This experience of connecting to a sense of God’s love will be different for each person but at least for some there will be an aspect of healing in that connecting.
The worship of our Lord for the healing of others is often demonstrated in the sound of music. The gift of music and song are also perfect ways to ‘Share Worship Through Healing.’ The lyrics of many songs offer words of love and healing for the soul. Singing can bring great joy to others. And the act of singing produces a healing vibration within the body.
In the worship of God, some practitioners may offer healing through the use of instruments in their healing sessions. Instruments may be singing bowls, tuning forks and drums.
Sound healer, Reiki master, and yoga and meditation teacher Susy Markoe Schieffelin, says, “You will find some form of sound healing in every culture on Earth. It is said that sound healing can be traced back 40,000 years to when indigenous Australians used ancient didgeridoos for healing.” Ms. Markoe Schieffelin goes on to share, “Sound healing balances and clears the mind, and leads to a renewed sense of purpose, well-being, calm, and happiness.”
What could be more glorious for praising God, than the raising and healing of our spirits with music!
In the book, Spiritual Healing – A Practical Guide to Hands-On-Healing, Jack Angelo states that, “Over two-thirds of our communication with others is nonverbal, and this is exactly how it is with prayer. Words are only a small part of the act of prayer.”
Mr. Angelo encourages healers that when they set in place the intention for healing to happen in a healing room, or for our healing group, within the sanctuary at the church, just by making the space sacred these actions are an act of prayer. “Prayer is felt and it creates a special level of awareness that is the state of prayerfulness.”
The intimacy of healing prayer with God is therefore, in my eyes the greatest way to worship our God.
My quest to help others heal using numerous healing modalities and the gift of prayer continues to be a very big part of who I am. And as I think back to those words spoken by an eight-year, old child, “Someday these hands are going to heal others.” I know that God has gifted me and blessed me with his healing love.
“Sharing Worship Through Healing”, how can we not?