By Retired Pastor Harold P. Martin
Words of Healing
Many of us learned to believe that the things we can touch and feel, see and study, cut open and analyze is reality. Science and engineering was based on and confined to measurable axioms. Knowledge was thought to be content, and wisdom was irrelevant. If you couldn’t count it, it didn’t matter.
In that concrete world, faith was often on the defensive. Mystery was to be eliminated. Embracing both science and faith was considered difficult.
Some time ago I heard Dr. Norma J. Hirsch, a medical doctor, speak on the subject of “The Re-spiritualizing of Health Care.” Dr. Hirsch’s life history is somewhat like the evolution of our societies’ values on these matters. She grew up on a farm near Charles City. In her early days on the farm the family lived by the rhythms of nature. The power of science and technology was balanced by the deep respect for the strength of the weather, enduring values of the crops, animals, and the root systems of life.
Dr. Hirsch graduated from medical school in a class of 172 with only 10 women included. I can relate to that, I graduated from seminary the first time in the early 1960’s with a class of 27 and no women. I went through three years of seminary and never had a woman in a class, nor did I go through seminary to a woman professor. The feminine spirit has now asserted itself in the higher educational world. Dubuque Theological Seminary classes now are approximately 50% women. Women with PhD degrees and full professors are the usual thing.
Profound and simple remarks of Dr. Hirsch’s patients pierced her pediatrician’s soul. The father of a dying baby raised the question, “Doctor, do you suspect that there may be healing beyond what you have to offer?” A grandmother murmured to her doctor, “What lacks human reason does not necessarily lack divine purpose.”
Christians are hearing with new sensors for prayer and health. In some congregations folks have learned to appreciate the ancient Orthodox Christian use of the “Jesus Prayer” for healing purposes: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Have mercy upon us, and grant us your peace.” We are still experiencing the peace of wholeness in healing words. Such words are not limited to Bishops Priests, or regular churchgoers. Our words of faith have special power when spoken at special times in special places by deeply loving persons who care for one another. May your words be “words of healing” for someone who touches your life most any old time. “God Bless You”