Today's account of Jesus healing stirs my spirit wonderfully. In Luke 7:7 it reads: "But say the word and my servant will be healed." As a Roman Catholic in my youth, prior to receiving communion, we said: "Lord, I'm not worthy to receive you, speak but the word and my soul will be healed." It's all about faith.
When we ask Jesus to speak the word and we expect to be healed do we hear Jesus say anything? Do our ears hear Jesus talking to us or do we faithfully accept that he speaks the word and then go on to receive communion? Our Methodist communion services don't include this plea, but I still, to this day, quietly say "Lord, I'm not worthy to receive you, speak but the word and my soul will be healed" prior to receiving the Eucharist. I visualize Jesus telling me, "Yes, Marty, your sins are forgiven, come, dine with me".
How powerful is the term "speak but the word"? Look to John 14: 12 - 14:
12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
The "word" we are told to speak is the name of Jesus. When we pray for someone, in the name of Jesus, do we have the faith of the centurion? Do we truly, deeply, believe that when we ask of Jesus he will deliver? I'll be the first to admit, many times my faith has not been equal to that of the centurion. Many times my prayers didn't come from a position of confidence. Frankly, I failed to believe with all my heart that Jesus would hear my prayers.
At our recent healing service I found myself calling upon the name of Jesus, with confidence, with conviction, with true belief that He would hear and answer our prayers. And in that service there was glory in the faces of everyone there. It was spellbinding to look to the congregation and see smiling faces, radiant with contentment, at peace with their souls. I couldn't help but reflect on the transfiguration and come to realize that we can be transfigured into new, radiant creatures when confronted with the glory of God. At that service, on that night, the Holy Spirit was present...no ifs, ands or buts...and in that presence of the Holy Spirit was the glory of God.
Oh how I pray that we have the faith of the centurion in our walk with Christ. How I pray that we not be timid, weak, content or comfortable. I pray that we seek to hear Jesus "speak but the word" and find the healing in ourselves, our congregations, our church and our world.
In Jesus' name I pray.