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Articles




"Miracles, Healing & Wisdom"


By Rev. Alicia Spiedel
First Christian Church, Medford, Oregon
Sunday, October 24, 2010

“I have experienced times when something miraculously happened that was
contrary to natural law.”
“I look for opportunities to bring hope and God’s comfort to those who are sick.”
“God has mysteriously intervened in extraordinary ways in my presence.”
“I am able to counsel others to help restore them to mental and spiritual health.”
“Time and again I have seen miracles, acts contrary to natural law, occur.”
“I am able to help, comfort, and counsel when people are deeply troubled.”

These six statements from the spiritual gifts survey that many of you filled out pertain to
the spiritual gifts of miracles and healing, with three questions attributed to each gift.
These two gifts are often misunderstood or seen as too mystical for today’s Christianity.
They either aren’t a part of our faith communities, they shouldn’t be, or they don’t seem
to apply, according to some. Of course, this is not the mindset of all Christians, but it is
definitely a prevalent attitude. And it is one that we need to dispel for miracles and
healing are a part of Christianity and the world around us. And they need to be valued
for what they are, spiritual gifts that can be traced right back to Jesus Christ and even
further than that if we do our homework.

Healing and miracle stories are a part of reality and they need to be acknowledged as
such, even if we don’t experience or witness them on a regular basis. They are not
taboo. They do not go against what we believe or teach in the church. And they aren’t
far fetched.

Just look at scripture. It is full of healing stories and miracles. Matthew, Mark, Luke,
John, Acts, 1 Corinthians, Hebrews, James, and those are only ones from the New
Testament. There is a vast history of miracles and healing and there is the potential for
an abundance of miracles and healing in the present and the future if we open our heart
and mind to the possibility.

In order to do this we need to become comfortable with the concept of miracles and
healing. We begin with our passage from Luke about the paralyzed man who was
carried to see Jesus. In this passage we see both a miracle and a healing. And there
are also places where more healing could have happened, but we’ll get to those pieces
in a moment. We need to address what actually happened first.

Jesus was teaching to the skeptics and the believers. The house or building he was in
overflowed with people, making it impossible for newcomers to reach Jesus. Even
though this was the case a group of newcomers was determined to get to Jesus and not
in the same room as him, peering over people from the back, but face to face with him.
They had a need, the paralyzed man they were carrying was in need of direct contact
with Jesus to receive healing. So being determined, they literally took matters into their
hands and removed tiles from the roof and lowered the man down to Jesus. That’s what
you call a show stopper!

And it was. Jesus immediately addressed the man on the bed as a result of the faith of
the ones who brought him. He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” As we heard,
this statement didn’t go over very well. The scribes and the Pharisees had some major
issues with it. According to them this was considered blasphemy. No one could forgive
sins except God and this was not God.

Jesus being quite intuitive, sensed what they were thinking and said, “Fine, if it is easier
to say get up and walk, then get up and walk.” And the man did. He walked and his sins
were forgiven. He was healed on many different levels in front of everyone there.
That’s what healing is - it is restoring wholeness and becoming one with God. This
wholeness is not simply a physical healing, for sometimes there is no physical healing.
However, there may be spiritual or emotional healing that could have far greater effects
than the physical healing.

So when we think of healing we need to reconstruct what has been drilled into us about
healing. It is a different concept than what many of us have understood up to this point.
And at the same time we need to differentiate between healing and cure.
One example of this is Reiki. You may have heard me talk about Reiki, you may have
read about it in the Harbinger, maybe you have received a Reiki treatment from one of
those in this congregation who is trained or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking
about. Whatever the case, Reiki is going to be talked about this morning in reference to
healing.

Why? Because Reiki is a hands-on healing form of prayer. Hands-on healing form of
prayer. The person giving Reiki is the vessel through which God’s energy is passed into
the person receiving Reiki.

As “The Reiki Alliance” describes, “the practice consists of laying the hands on the body
in a proscribed pattern and allowing the energy of life, or God, to flow through the hands
to the person being treated.”

By engaging in this form of prayer, an individual is inviting healing to occur. And as I
said before, this healing can happen in a variety of different ways and it may happen
over a lifetime. Instantaneous healing is not a given. It may take a series of treatments,
each aiding in the healing process, each getting one step closer and each creating more
oneness and wholeness with God.

Currently there are six people in this congregation who have been trained in Reiki. There
are also a small handful of people in this faith community who have received Reiki from
one or more of these people. Reiki is a new ministry within this congregation waiting to
blossom and grow. It needs an outlet. Maybe you are that outlet. Maybe you are sitting
there thinking, “Hmm, Reiki might be something I want to receive or maybe I would like
to be trained in Reiki.” Both of these things are possibilities, so explore how Reiki might
become a part of your faith journey with me or Rebecca, Jane, Betty, Carolyn or Mary
Lou. We have all been trained and are more than willing to share this type of healing
prayer.

The spiritual gift of healing is important in that it creates that wholeness in individuals
and in the entire community. It is way to connect with God and the Spirit. It is present
and always will be. We simply have to acknowledge it and allow healing to enter our
lives.

In our passage the scribes and Pharisees were skeptical of healing. They wanted no
part of it, both the physical kind and the spiritual and emotional kind. They were wary
from the moment Jesus healed the man of his ailment and his sins. What is ironic is they
were actually in need of healing. They needed to be open to what could have transpired
within them had they been receptive to it. We don’t want that to be us. We don’t want to
be closed to what could transpire within. We want to be open. We need to be open, to
embrace the spiritual gift of healing in whatever shape or form it greets us.
The same goes for the spiritual gift of miracles. At our church retreat where we
discussed spiritual gifts in detail, filled out the spiritual gifts survey and shared the results
in small groups, a question about this spiritual gift was raised in the large group. The
person began by sharing that one of her top three gifts was miracles. Then she
proceeded to ask, “How is that relevant to our faith community? How can it contribute to
who we are?”

As I stood there wondering how to answer the question, others at the retreat responded
with their ideas, which were spot on. By sharing the gift of miracles with this faith
community or with anybody, you are witnessing to the power and possibility of God
working in the world and in people’s lives. You are saying that anything is possible and
imaginable. God is present and real and really does move in and through us. There
becomes an openness with this gift, one where amazing things happen and where
wonders never cease. That is the witness that someone brings to the table when they
possess the spiritual gift of miracles.

These two spiritual gifts, that of healing and miracles, are powerful and beyond
description. They are complicated and bring with them a lot of baggage and
preconceived notions. Yet, they are meaningful and also bring with them the opportunity
to expand our horizons and connect with God in ways that we had never imagined.
All we have to do is accept these spiritual gifts and the way they show themselves. Allow
that to be the presence that shapes how we view the world and God. Allow that to add
new meaning and depth to our lives.

Spiritual gifts are only gifts if we see them as gifts and let them fill us in the ways that
only they can.

Alicia Speidel
Alicia is a native Oregonian and an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She has served as minister of the First Christian Church in Medford, Oregon, since 2002.


From Heart to Heart

Reiki offers spiritual gift of hands-on healing, prayer
By Elaine Andres
For The Register-Guard

I first experienced Reiki in 1979 when a friend placed her hands on my shoulder and my pain
disappeared.

As I began to explore Reiki, my congregation encouraged me to take the first-degree class. Over
four days I learned a system of hands-on healing touch. During class people reported feeling
sensations of heat, tingling and energy in their hands. I experienced nothing — no warmth, no
energy, not even an itch!

When I returned home, I shared my experience with the congregation. They, too, felt energy and
physical sensations when I placed my hands on them.
My mind yearned to understand. I wanted to know, to be able to explain what was happening. I
practiced. I questioned. I wrestled.

As time passed, I realized Reiki was another dimension of my faith journey. I yielded my need to
know. I practiced Reiki daily. I gave myself to this unknown path — walking in faith, trusting God
as healer and teacher.

It was a delight months later when I began to experience energy flowing in my hands. I took the
second-degree Reiki class and learned to deepen the power of Reiki, send energy into time/space
and do mental healing.

Finally, in 1984, I accepted the call of my heart to teach this beautiful gift and Phyllis Furumoto
initiated me as a Reiki Master.

Teaching and practicing Reiki became one way for me to share the power of God’s Love. Reiki
became a spiritual discipline that connects me to the divine mystery of life I call God.

When my heart said “Yes!” I had no idea of the journey I began. To this day, it is a challenge to
share the essence of Reiki in words. Reiki speaks to my heart and calls to my soul as I walk a
consciously chosen path of personal healing and spiritual transformation.

Each time I place my hands upon my own body, I move into a place of prayer. Each time I share
Reiki with another person, plant or animal, I connect to God as divine love and healer.

I have come to know that Reiki is not about information and knowledge. It is about me loving
others as deeply as I can, opening myself and watching as God does the healing. In a Reiki class
God invites all of us to open our minds, hands and hearts to a deeper knowing of God.

Reiki is a process, a life walk. It takes time and practice to understand this gentle gift of handson
prayer. It is my honor and privilege to be a conduit of God’s healing energy and to participate
with those who seek healing for body, mind and soul through classes and/or personal sessions.

The longer I hold Reiki in my hands and practice the discipline daily, the deeper into my own
healing God invites me. Through this gentle art of hands-on prayer, God continues to heal and
transform my life as I share it with others.

Elaine Andres is a Reiki Master and spiritual director at Sacred Path Ministry, This column is coordinated by Two Rivers Interfaith Ministries, a network of more than 35 religious and spiritual traditions in the Eugene-Springfield area. For more information, call 344-5693 or visit www.interfaitheugene.org. Elaine Andres © 2013




Home


Home is a place of welcome!
A place where I am received just as I am
without judgment,
Where I am loved
without any need to be different,
A place where I am trusted to find my own way,
to create my own path in my own time.

Home is a heart space
A place of being known,
A place where my vulnerability is honored
and love, compassion, and support abound.

Home is a place of rest,
A place of silence, stillness, and solitude.
A place where I come
to listen to the words of my soul,
where the gift of Holy Listening is practiced.
A place where my voice is heard
and my truth acknowledged.

Home is a place of healing,
where wounds are bound
encouragement given.
A place where I am held gently in honor
and respect as I heal.

Home is a grounding place
A place of light I share with others.
A place of learning,
of deepening my connection to the System I practice.
A place where questions are pondered
and discussions are held
in an open and respectful way.
A place where freedom is encouraged
as I move deeper into the Mystery of my Life.

Home is a place of service.
where the gift that I am is named,
welcomed and celebrated.
A place where I am invited to offer
all that I am
and all that I am becoming.

Home is a place that beckons me to return.

Elaine Andres ©  April, 2010
First published by Sacred Path Ministry.