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Wonders of the Small Church

The small church has incredible importance and value, although it may not carry the pomp of churches in Europe and elsewhere. I have one particular small church in mind: ours.

Healing is the most central characteristic of Christ’s ministry. The gospels are full of example. Sometimes the healing accounts seem so simple. A need is expressed, and God responds. It is important to note however, that Christ does not heal indiscriminately. Time after time in the gospels it is noted that Christ heals only where he sees faith, and when he does, he heals in both body and soul.

The story of the Paralytic (John 5:15) serves as a reminder. It is easy to miss, yet when Christ asks the man if he wants to be healed, the Paralytic responds, in part, “… but while I am coming …” (v.7). The paralytic states his intention and shows the necessary amount of faith in order to be healed, and to be forgiven (“Sin no more” v.14). Again, body and soul.

The reason man needs healing is because of sin. Sin leads to suffering, suffering leads to doubt, doubt leads to unbelief, and unbelief leads to empty churches and adds chaos to our spiritual lives. Despair, the foretaste of hell according to the church fathers, is imminent; the destruction of our soul will soon follow.

Surrendering, totally, to God is the time-tested way to break the cycle of self-destruction. We prepare ourselves to be healed by surrendering. It is only when we offer every shred of our anguish, anxiety, and despair to the One who is source of healing and hope, that is Christ, can we begin to process of healing.

It is easy to determine physical healing. Our temperature drops, our blood pressure is regulated, and the pain decreases. Not one among us does not want to be physically healed. It can be much more difficult to discern spiritual healing. How do we know we are being healed in the spirit?

I would suggest three ways:

1)    The things which control our lives are jealously, self-absorption, and resentment, most especially resentment. When these being to lose their grip on us, then we are healing spiritually.

2)    Once we are healed, we do not return to our former way of life. Christ does not heal us in order to maintain our pre-illness agenda. “Illness is a blessing,” St John Chrysostom said; “Do not condemn every illness,” Gregory the Theologian added.

3)    Increased repentance and confession.

V. Rev. Marc Vranes

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