Prayer Service - Called to Heal, Called to Serve

May-June 2010


LEADER: I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being.

READING 1 Luke 10: 25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." He replied to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live."

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, "Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back." Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" He answered, "The one who treated him with mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."


From A Balm for Gilead: Meditations on Spirituality and the Healing Arts by Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, Ph.D.

To be a healer is to find God in those in need of healing. For the Christian, healing is a direct encounter with the divine. And that encounter, if genuine, necessarily causes personal transformation.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite ignore God when they ignore the wounded man, and so their lives remain unchanged — they keep walking down the same path. The man the Good Samaritan finds bleeding on the side of the road is really the Lord. And in picking him up and binding his wounds, the Samaritan's life is changed. … So, although religious health care professionals may often want to understand themselves as "channels" for God's healing power, Christianity teaches that they would perhaps be better served if they understood themselves first and foremost as persons privileged to serve God by serving the sick.

RESPONSE Psalm 146
LEADER: Happy are we whose help is the God of Rachel and Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord our God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.

ALL: Who keeps faith forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.

LEADER: The Lord sets the prisoner free; The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

ALL: The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the immigrants, and upholds the widow and the orphan.

LEADER: Praise the Lord! It is good to sing praises to our God, for God is gracious, and a song of praise is seemly.

ALL: The Lord builds up Jerusalem, and gathers the outcasts of Israel. God heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.

ALL: Faithful God, your labors of love delight us and your marvelous deeds move us to song. Make us eager to labor for the good of our neighbor and to witness to your care by our compassionate presence. We ask this in the name of Jesus and through the power of your Spirit. Amen.

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Prayer Service - Called to Heal, Called to Serve

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