Submitted by Pastor Donna Clark Fuller,
Rock Port and Watson United Methodist Churches
“But only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.” Matthew 8:8
The words of a Roman centurion to Jesus show his faith in Jesus’ power to heal. In our Christian tradition, we have seen the actions of Jesus, or later, his disciples, to heal by the laying on of hands. But there are many more instances of Jesus healing only by his words upon seeing the faith of those who need healing.
We are in a time where the world is in need of healing. There are always many ways in which the world needs healing. We are always in need of healing from warfare, violent crimes, poverty, and environmental damage to the earth, to mention just a few. But these days we hear news reports constantly of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the many people affected, and the many people who have died from this disease. Even as we consider opening businesses and other gathering places, such as churches, we still must find ways to prevent the spread of this disease. The best way we have of protecting ourselves and our neighbors is to avoid touch as much as we can. Even though we really want to hug our friends, even though there is healing in touch, there is also disease in touch from this kind of virus.
The Roman centurion came to Jesus because he cared about his servant. He came to someone outside of his culture and the religion of the Romans. He made the effort to help someone else and not to just think about himself. We must also care about our neighbors and want to see them whole and healthy. We must do the things we can to help prevent the spread of this disease, following the guidelines given by those with medical knowledge. Even though it is hard to stay apart, even though we don’t know exactly what will happen with any of our actions, still we must make the effort to care about others and not just ourselves.
It is important to remember that Jesus spent much of his ministry on earth healing people of various illnesses. Not everyone was healed then. Not everyone will be healed today. But we can pray for healing knowing that it does not require touch. Healing from God can happen with just a word. Maybe healing for our world will happen with the wisdom we can gain from hearing the words of God.