September 27

James 5:13-15

“Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.” vs. 14

James opens a window into the life of the early Christian community and gives us a glimpse of an early faith practice that has persisted until our time. Always, in every place, followers of Jesus have offered prayers for the sick. We wonder about such things and some ask whether advances in healthcare will someday render such prayers obsolete. The answer to such questions is obvious to most believers. If anything, as the years have passed, prayers for the sick are even more integral to our faith communities. It’s not that our prayers are a substitute for medical care. When illness comes we’d be foolish not to take advantage of doctors, surgeries, and medicines. They are a gift from God and a powerful tool for healing. But prayers connect us to one another in a powerful way and in the connections healing is enhanced and supported. Of course there’s always mystery involved…we can never understand how anointing with oil has any therapeutic value. And there are no guarantees…the sick won’t always get well and ultimately all of us will die. But still we pray…and in the praying the community is strengthened and drawn together. In the praying we become one with God and with one another…and by faith the sick are made well!

Thought for the Day: What is the value of healing services?

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