I love Christmas lights. I don’t put very many up myself, but I love other people’s (from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. I’m not so much of a fan of them on Valentine’s Day). I especially love displays that have well-synced flashes. I remember as a kid there was a house on our block that always had perfectly neat and straight lights running along their gutter, and they blinked in a way that created a wave. I thought they were so pretty. The ones I didn’t like so much were the ones that blinked, and you could could exactly how many strands of lights were strung together because each one blinked at a different time. It seemed like every once in awhile they were merge and it would look like they were synced, but it was just a trick of timing and pretty soon they would all be random again.
I think our lives are a lot like Christmas lights. Sometimes it seems like everything is happening at random and there is no way to sort out the mess. Things are happening, but there is no way to make sense of any of it. Then there are the times when we are synced up. There might be a lot happening, but we feel like we can handle it. I know that there have been times when the Christmas lights of my life looked liked this:
This is an amazing video to watch. Isn’t it great when our lives feel like this? When everything just seems to fit. To me, this is what healing is all about. Healing is not the absence of disease. It is the presence of order. The source of cure is the chemical compounds that I do not unerstand. The source of healing is the mystery of God that creates order out of chaos, creates light out of darkness, and gives new life to what was once dead.
Healing was a huge part of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and as Christ’s Church it needs to be a part of what we are doing. Unfortunately in most churches healing is seen either as a money-making gimmick of sheisters, or it is limited to the “concerns” part of the congregational prayer.
I believe we need to reclaim the healing ministry of Jesus. We need to stop focusing on cure, and start thinking of how Jesus orders our lives. That amazing light display took hours of time. It took a central computer to coordinate all of the parts. All of those blinks and flashes, if seen on their own, would have appeared to be nothing more than a random display. But since all of those lights were plugged into the central source of power, you get to see this remarkable display.
Our lives are no different. If we are not connected to the central source of power – the Holy Spirit – we will be nothing more than a collection of random blinking. When we connect to the power that is offered in Jesus Christ, watch out. Amazing things can happen. Much more amazing even, then the video above.
So this Advent season, as we prepare the way of the Lord, let us first prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts. Do as Jesus said, and “Open Up.” Open up to the power of the Holy Spirit. Open up to healing. Open up to forgiveness. Open up to reconciliation. Open up to grace. Open your heart to the power of the Holy Spirit, and watch what can happen.
At Riverside UMC, we will be offering people a chance to open up every Wednesday evening in Lent. We will come to the chapel with the sacrament of Communion laid out in front of us, and we will open up to the power of the Holy Spirit. So come every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and be healed.