We live in a hurting and broken world. Many United Methodist congregations now include healing prayer and anointing in worship services. The Bible affirms spiritual healing. When pastors and laity pray for people with the laying on of hands or anointing with oil, they are not claiming that God will make everything better. They are seeking to be faithful to continue Christ’s threefold ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing.
The Bible clearly calls disciples to pray with and for one another, and this faithful ministry of touch with prayer pleads and performs (enacts) the grace of God. This touch bridges alienation, swallows isolation, breaks suffering, and opens discouraged human spirits.
Central celebrates a ritual of healing and anointing on the third Sunday of every month at both services of worship. When people are hurting, and when there is an invitation to share the pain, people respond. It is very natural and an act of hope in God. The ritual practices of healing prayer in the context of worship do not embarrass or expose people. United Methodist healing services use a simple sacramental approach to healing that expresses compassion, hope, grace, and a quiet confidence in God. There we can bring our insufficiencies to the all-sufficient Christ, who understands our need for wholeness.
Central’s Home Communion Project, led by Peter VanHoesen, takes the sacrament from our sanctuary to homebound members and friends of Central This is an important way of strengthening the bond of love that ties us together in Christ.