2017-06-25 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato – First Baptist Church Edmonton
Healing & Prayer Service
Peter and John went to pray:
they met a lame man on the way.
He asked for alms and held out his palms,
and this is what Peter did say:
“Silver and gold have I none,
but what I have I give to you.
In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
He went walking and jumping and praising God,
walking and jumping and praising God.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
If I could go back to my 9 year old self, with more of a critical thinking mindset…
I think I would have so many questions for this song!?!
How about you?
1.What are alms?
2.Peter you cheapskate!
3.Is it that easy? Walking and jumping and praising God?
4.What’s in a name? apparently…lots!
–And what about you? Questions anyone?
Today is our annual service of healing and prayer…and since we’ve been in Acts and stories of the early church since Pentecost Sunday, it seems wise that we try to weave into our imaginations the way of healing and prayer of the early church…and how the stories of early church might inform the ways we pray and heal in these days…
YES…Peter and John went to pray…
We are perhaps just 2 weeks post-pentecost-tongues-of-fire coming down from heaven and thousands of jewish worshippers have got on board with these “people of the way”…who are telling the story of a risen Jesus…who had died, yes, but now continues to live through the power and presence of the God’s Spirit…and this Holy Spirit has been poured out on ALL flesh…
But remember, Peter and John are still God-fearing (Yahweh-worshippin’) Jews…and so they still pray at the synagogue and honor the appointed prayer times at the local church…
They approach the temple courts and a familiar face is there, a man in his 40’s, crippled from birth, carried to his “begging post” each day, asking for handouts.
He’s heard of all the kerfuffle about these disciples of Jesus and recognizes James and John. He cries out to them, thinking he’s got a chance of getting a magical portion of whatever they’ve got to give…
“Alms for the poor, the forsaken, the downtrodden…alms!”
Peter and John make a beeline towards the beggar.
“Look at us! We have no silver or gold!
But what I have I give to you…
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
Stand up and walk.”
Peter takes hold of the man’s right forearm and the beggar jumps to his feet.
He stands. He stretches. He reaches for the sky and lunges and leaps and shouts to Yahweh.
“You have turned my mourning into dancing!
You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy!
O LORD, my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Ps. 30)
The crowd is gob-smacked. Amazed. Filled with wonder.
Shouts of joy fill the air.
Other beggars in the crowd cry out, “help me! Heal me! Pick me!”
The beggar hugs his friends and family and then clings to Peter and John as they try to make their way into the inner temple courts.
It’s apparent that the crowd is once again longing for an explanation…people asking “What does this mean? What does this mean?”
Peter jumps up on an elevated stage in the temple courts and waves his arms, motioning to the crowd to listen…
“Friends and fellow Israelites!
It’s not us!
This is the work of our God…
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The God who sent his son and servant Jesus,
The Holy and righteous one whom you rejected.
You acted in ignorance…you killed the Author of life
But God raised him from the dead.
This man is made strong, healed by faith in the name of Jesus.
So…don’t turn to us…
Turn to God…Repent…Turn to God…
So that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come
From the presence of the Lord.”
* * * * * *
And so we turn our hearts to God this morning.
We repent! That’s why our confession prayer is so important from week to week.
“So that our sins may be wiped out…so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
And today at our annual service of healing and prayer, we are very intentional about proclaiming “healing power in the name of Jesus.”
It’s not magic, it’s not a prayer formula, we are not the healers…
But we have the opportunity and the calling to participate in
Jesus’ ongoing ministry of compassion, relief and restoration.
The healing and blessing that we receive today is a real-life manifestation of Jesus’ presence in our midst.
So come…you are not obligated to come but be assured that this is not faith-healing magic, this is the community of Christ,
Caring and praying for one another,
Serving under the influence of Jesus…
And sharing his presence through words and action…