Healers in a Hurting World

On January 6, 2020, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

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Healers in a Hurting World
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Mt 2; Mk 1

Jan 5, 2020

Let us dwell together in peace and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; now, may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

Mark tells us that when Jesus left the synagogue, he went immediately to help someone in need. He comforted Peter’s mother-in-law. He was able to encourage her enough that she quickly got back in the thick of things. His ministry was life-giving. His compassion renewed someone who was weak and weary.

Jesus worshiped, and then went out from the synagoge to help someone else by sharing the gifts he received in worship.
Jesus worshiped, and then he was able to make a difference.

After Jesus helped one person, the story says that he ministered to a lot of people who were mentally or physically hurting.
One, and then many. It seems to work that way, doesn’t it?

We opened space for a few groups, and before long, Sunshine Cathedral was home to dozens of groups.

We started sharing food with a few people in need. Three years later, we are sharing food with over 400 people each week.

We took spare change offerings to help publish our literature, now those offerings are also shared with other worthy organizations in town.

We started a performing arts series and it has grown every year. We offer joy and community through the arts, touching people who would never think to come to a regular church service.

We started sharing our message on streaming video, social media, the Internet, Second Life…and now tens of thousands of people from all over the world are touched by Sunshine Cathedral each week.

Do something. Do it with faith and love, and over time, you’ll be doing even more.

Jesus worshiped and he let his worship experience bless him, and he shared his blessings in order to heal someone, and then, he was helping and healing people all over the place.

After Jesus healed all those people, some he went to, some others brought to him, then people started seeking him out on their own.

An outcast, an untouchable, a leper comes to Jesus and asks for help. Jesus gives it.

A friend’s mother-in-law needs help – Jesus gives it.
Neighbors need help – Jesus does what he can.
People from all over, including those religion and society said were untouchable, come to Jesus – and he blesses them, too.

Worship can equip us to make a big difference in the world.
In worship, we are blessed to be a blessing.

First, we can encourage a friend, neighbor or coworker.
Then we can touch a lot of people with our sharing, our volunteer efforts, our support of wide reaching ministries.
And then, people seek us out because we’re the love place, the hope place, the joy place, the healing place…and we welcome them and we bless them.

Worship can transform us so that we can help transform the world around us…and it needs it.

The other gospel reading today, the the story of the magi amplifies the message of healing.

Magi, Zoroastrian priests from Persia, modern day Iran, find Jesus and protect him from Herod’s campaign of targeting male children (basically a retelling of the Moses story where families were torn apart and children killed).

Jesus’ ancestors were conquered by Persia, and now, it’s Persians coming to the aid of Jesus and his family.

Herod is destroying families.
Persians, an ancient enemy, show compassion.

There has been a lot of pain, a lot of misery, a lot of misdeeds, a lot of hatred, a lot bigotry over the centuries, but in Matthew’s gospel, Zoroastrians and Jews, Persians and Palestinians, rich and poor are all children of God, all capable of showing love and compassion, all able to be kinder than their forebears had been. Matthew suggests that there can be healing in a hurting world.

When politics or religion or society became dangerous or hateful, Matthew insists that God’s love is still within us and can be expressed. Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Magi…day laborers and foreign dignitaries, peasants and potentates…all can choose to be healers in a hurting world.

Children suffer in cages on our southern border.
Australia is on fire, lives lost, ecosystems destroyed.
We have an epidemic of mass violence in this country.
Once again…once again…we are on the brink of another military conflict.
The second largest Protestant denomination in the US is blowing up over homophobia.
Our world is hurting!

What can we do?
Jesus shows us something we can all do, right now.

1. We can worship.
2. We can share the blessings we receive from worship with someone else.
3. We can then share our blessings with lots of people.
4. And as word gets out, and people come here for encouragement, for affirmation, for sanctuary…we can welcome them.

We can offer a loving embrace to gay and lesbian and bisexual people, to people still getting HIV diagnoses, to transgender and non-binary indivividuals, we can welcome interfaith families, spiritual seekers who arent interested in a lot of doctrine or dogma, we can love people from every nation regardless of their documentation, we can encourage people who struggle with addiction or depression, we can show kindness to the bereaved or anxious or lonely who need to be around friendly faces and warm gestures, and we certainly can tell one and all that they are God’s miracles and not God’s mistake.

Worship can help us love our neighbors as ourselves.
Worship can help us do unto others as we would have others do unto us.
Worship can help us become the peacemakers that Jesus called blessed.
Worship can help insist that swords be beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks.
Worship can help us know that no one is untouchable, or unlovable.
Worship reminds us that we all have sacred value.
Worship helps us encounter the unconditional, all-inclusive, everlasting love of God and that encounter is bound to transform us, or at very least, renew us.

Make worship a priority in 2020.
It’s no small thing.
Worship can be the first step to becoming healers in a hurting world.

2020 needs us to be healers in a hurting world.
We can be, and I declare that we will be.
This is the good news. Amen.

Renew my hope, God.
And bless me to be a blessing to others throughout 2020.
Amen.

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