The first Sunday after Trinity
Matthew Chapter 9
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few;
therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food.
Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave.
As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
In the middle of the pandemic, cures and healing are on many people’s minds.
At a time when there was no modern medicine, the only hope for the sick came through religion and religious healers. There is a large part of our gospels that speaks of Jesus healing people. It was part of what he did. I am not advocating that anyone should avoid modern medicine – it should be our first port of call. However, even now there are a significant number of people who have experienced pain relief and healing through prayer. In our churches we continue to pray for the sick and the suffering. Even within our own village there are those who would swear that prayer has helped them. I have heard and seen people who have had that experience. When the doctor has said “there is no more that I can do for you,” then prayer is a natural response from many who have no religious background.
Of course, we are not Jesus, but Jesus sent his disciples – his followers out to heal.
The church in its imperfect way continues as his followers, prayer and healing remains part of our calling.