Day 28: Healing As An Act of Communion

BY MARILYN NASH | March 12th, 2024
Today’s readings

Recently, I began working as a Contemplative Practitioner – offering mindfulness practices as part of an online mental health program for young adults. In one exercise, we imagine having a superpower we’d use to help other people in crisis. Ideas range from the fantastical ability to teleport if someone needs help with chores, to magically taking away someone’s pain, to the tender wish that we would know exactly what to say or do when someone is suffering. 

After everyone shares, we continue reflecting on what real gifts we want someone to offer us. Every time, it ends with the same realization – the people who pay sincere attention make a difference. 

In today’s scripture – Jesus pays attention to one who has been lingering near the pools of Bethesda for 38 years. When Jesus finds him, He does what he often does – he asks a question: Do you want to be well?The man answers, revealing the issue at hand – I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred…

He cannot do this alone. 

I envy Jesus for his ability to heal the man outright. It is frustrating to be unable to fix or cure or save. Most of us do not have those particular powers; and so – overwhelmed – we withdraw our attention. 

Poet-author bell hooks reminds us,rarely, if ever are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.” 

Jesus consistently seeks out places of suffering, people in pain. 

We may not be able to perform miracles, but we can model Christ’s presence, his care, his close attention. 

I don’t know why the man at Bethesda was there alone. I confess my own struggle staying present – to genocide, racism, oppressive laws, and exhausting news cycles – I can allow overwhelm to deceive me into believing there is nothing I can do if I cannot do everythingto trick me into believing the distance between me and my neighbor is real. 

This lent – can we pray for communion? 

Can we pray for the grace of knowing we belong to one another? 

Can we cultivate the relationships and spiritual practices that will sustain and inspire our attending – or as Dante Stewart invites us, to give up our practices of avoidance

Can we remember our liberation and our healing are tied up in one another? Can we collectively answer Christ’s question? Yes, we want to be healed.

2 replies
  1. Amelia
    Amelia says:

    This was so beautiful & just the reminders I needed. Caring is so overwhelming & times are hard. I need to reject the deceptions that overwhelm causes.
    Thank you for this !

  2. Roy Fanthome
    Roy Fanthome says:

    Yes, we say, “I wish to be healed “.
    But is there anyone to lower us into the healing pool?
    If not we need conversion.
    We need to know that of ourselves we can do nothing. The simplest act of carrying a mat requires divine intervention.
    We need that divine intervention to lower us into the pool at the efficacious Time.
    He is always there; all we need to do is ask. He has promised that if we have faith we can move mountains. Pray and leave healing in His hands.


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