Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
I wonder how many places anointing is used extensively today? I read a paraphrase of it in the book I’m reading that went like this:
Is any sick among you? Let him go to the doctor’s office, and let the doctor do a physical examination, some lab tests, and maybe an Xray, and give him drugs in the name of the system. And the natural healing process and the regimes of the system shall raise him up, maybe; and if he have committed any sins, they shall be ignored because the only thing that matters is getting the physical problem alleviated; and the idea that the problem is spiritual isn’t even considered.
Since I was privileged to witness an anointing service this week which I think will very possibly lead to healing, it was on my mind, and these words really hit me. It seems to me that often the anointing is used only as a type of “last rites,” never administered unless there is a good possibility of the person dying. It’s given as a comforting balm to the spirit, but not with any real expectation of actual physical healing! Is this how it was intended, I wonder?
Another pericope from Born in Zion: (pericope (puh-RIK-uh-pee)=selection from a book. I love A Word a Day, available at wordsmith.org )
I should mention that this book is written by a midwife who sees childbirth more as a spiritual event (often a battle with Satan, who wishes to destroy life rather than allow it) than a medical event. She has some very interesting insights, and this one caught my attention.
Incidentally, that delivery involved a rough battle for me personally. I know now it was because I wasn’t in a position to fight in a spiritual battle very effectively. It was during the time I was flitting around from church to church, trying to find a place where they’d appreciate me properly; most people were rejecting our ministry at that point. I was really manifesting the “Lone Ranger Syndrome.”
I know there’s been a lot of error and abuse in the area of submission and shepherding, and I certainly don’t mean to ascribe to any type of bondage, but I know I wasn’t able to exert much authority when I wasn’t UNDER authority. After I made a commitment to a particular portion of the body of Christ, determined to support it, attend regularly, and be fitted together with the people there, I could once again exercise spiritual power against the enemy. Like the Centurion said to Jesus, “I am a man UNDER authority; I say to this one ‘Go’ and he goes and to that one ‘Come’ and he comes…”
I couldn’t even chase away a two-bit demon when I was rejecting lawful authority over me.
Any comments? I’d love to hear what you all think about either one of these issues!