by Andrea Lang

I came to the first healing service to encourage my mom–a gift of respect–to be a cheerleader in the congregation. I wanted to support the call on her life and the work she does in our midst. By the second time I was coming because I serve on the worship team for these services. The very best place to play music is in worship and an evening service that does not conflict with Sunday morning children’s ministry is a perfect fit for me. I came to make music, worship and be a part of creating a space. Now, 3 years later, I have come to all but one or 2 of our Church of the Cross healing services. In this short blog entry I am offering a testimony of showing up routinely in a place that God’s Spirit has been invited, where the space has been prepared and the Word spoken. And I want you to hear the invitation to come, to sit with the Father, to lay aside an agenda, to make room – oh this all sounds so Advent!

I am reminded of a Godly Play lesson from “The Faces of Easter” when Jesus begins his ministry:

“Jesus came back across the Jordan River and began to do his work… but what was his work? His work was to come close to people, especially the people no one else wanted to come close to. See? He has come close to this blind man; he is so close that he has touched the blind man’s eyes. When Jesus came close to people, they changed. They could see things they never see before. They could do things they could never do before. They became well.”

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I never specifically came to a healing service for healing, but I can tell you I have been healed. I was always surprised with what God would invite me to notice. I bear witness to the work the Spirit has accomplished on a midweek service. My great Physician has healed harmful patterns of thought in my mind, a numbing pain in my right hand and the seeds of anxiety that would like to creep in. My kind Father has carried my heartbreak for hurting friends and brought them to places of healing themselves. My dear Friend has blessed me with quiet moments to just sit in His presence and watch others reach out to Him. My Counselor has invited me to be brave and ask for prayer to parent better, and my Shepherd has witnessed my tears for things I do not even have strength to put words around.

Over time, these services have become like water, a required part of my soul care. I find myself now eagerly awaiting the next gathering. They serve a different purpose than the daily bread and happy time of Sunday morning connecting with our church family. These healing services feel more like going to the dentist (let it be known that I love going to the dentist! I know, I know, hear me out!) Of course, if you are in terrible pain and need a root canal, you should run to the dentist! But you should also make sure to go every 6 months, staying on top of tooth problems and getting tips on how to stay healthy. Just as with a check-up where the junk that builds up from everyday life is removed and I leave feeling clean, I find myself leaving feeling restored and renewed.

As I write this I see in my mind the faces of our church prayer team that have ministered to me. Men and women who are ready and eager and literally surround the room as sentinels for God’s work here. They prepare the space and have prepared themselves to gladly do this work of ministry. Come on Dec 1st to the next gathering: A Time Set Apart. Come to make it the first of many! Consider what might it be like to come with your best friend, or perhaps as a small group all praying for the same issue, or as a deep breath to begin your advent season, or as a way of sacrifice during a busy week, or to become well, or as a curious child wanting the Spirit’s way in your life. And then come again. And then again.

See you there!