Wholeness and Peace

St Michael’s Vicarage
Alnwick

Dear People of Alnwick,

Throughout my ministry one of my great interests has been the Church’s ministry of Wholeness and Healing. It is an area which, by prayer and sacrament, the Church has much to offer (not least given all the strains and stresses of modern life) but it is also an area of ministry where I suspect there is still some misunderstanding. Services of Wholeness and Healing are not only for those who are sick but for all who wish to pray for and seek wholeness in their own lives or on behalf of another.

If we are really honest with ourselves we all have need of God’s healing touch in our lives, for none of us is free from brokenness of one kind or another – however much we may like to make those around us believe otherwise.

We may be physically fit but nursing some hurt in our lives; we may be leading so-called full and active lives but, in doing so, we may be placing ourselves under undue pressure and strain. In addition, obeying God’s law of love will almost certainly bring sorrow and upset into our lives at some time or another since pain is the price we pay for love. Whatever our situation, there can be a tendency to shut God out of the picture – but without a clear recognition of his caring presence the darkness will only become darker.

It was, for me, a ‘defining moment’ in my life when I came to realise fully that the Almighty, All-knowing, All-seeing God is also the God who comes alongside us, heals our wounds and binds up the broken-hearted.

And not only that: this self-same God does more than sympathise with us – he is actually right there in the suffering with us. Timothy Rees, in his beautiful hymn “God is Love: let heav’n adore him” puts it like this:

God is love: and he enfoldeth all the world in one embrace;
with unfailing grasp he holdeth every child of every race.
And when human hearts are breaking under sorrow’s iron rod,
then they find that selfsame aching deep within the heart of God.

What a wonderful and comforting fact this is: to know that, whatever obstacles or tragedies may come our way, the God whose very name is love holds out his arms, enfolds us and carries us until we are made whole again.

Recognising this will help us to give God the opportunity to work in us and take away the strains and stresses of life so that we may come to luxuriate in the wholesome peace which was Christ’s parting gift to all who believe.

Our next service of Wholeness and Healing will take place in St. Michael’s at 6.00pm on Sunday 20th October. Many folk have found this opportunity to experience the quiet transforming love of God through the laying-on-of-hands and anointing a memorable encounter and a source of great comfort.

Reading this during August, October might seem a long way off but do consider making a note of this date in your diary and coming along.

With every blessing,

Paul.

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