Materials Needed: A pencil (or crayons), the sheets of paper from Ash Wednesday, clear tape – one for each participant.
Breathing Is an Act of Healing
Before anything else, let’s breathe. I’m not talking about inhaling and exhaling, but true breathing. When we inhale, we take in oxygen, which our bodies need. But when we breathe something else happens. In the Bible, we hear these words from Job –
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)
When we breathe, each breath is a Spirit breath. It’s the breath of God almighty in our lungs. Our bodies need oxygen. And our souls need the breath of God, working to heal us from the inside out.
Let’s start by taking in a deep, slow breath through the nose.
Let the breath stay in your lungs for a couple of seconds.
Now slowly sigh the breath out through the mouth.
Let’s do that one more time.
Experiencing God’s Love in the World Is an Act of Healing
On Ash Wednesday we each took a sheet and wrote down some of the ways we’ve hurting through the last year. We did that because telling the truth about what hurts is an important part of the healing process.
And we’re lucky to have some friends joining us for the first time today. Here’s what I’d like you to do. Get a sheet of paper, and as you’re holding the paper, I want you to think about any of the hurts you feel because of this past year. It could be sadness about missing games, concerts, and time with friends. It could be frustration with having to do so many things virtually. It could be anger at situations that aren’t fair for yourself or others. As you’re thinking, wad the sheet of paper into a ball. As you continue to think about those hurts from the past year, smooth the paper back out and tear it in half. Now you have two, somewhat wrinkly, sheets of paper.
Let’s take that sheet, or two smaller sheets since we each tore the one sheet in half.
First, let’s smooth that sheet as much as we possibly can.
Next, let’s take a little tape, and tape it back together into one sheet.
Well, it’s kind of a mess. It’s torn down the middle, it’s wrinkly and bumpy, and I can still read – barely – the hurts I tried to erase. So are we stuck this way? Not at all! Now we get to do something else that is so important in healing. We turn the page.
Look at that. An empty page. Does turning the page mean our hurts never happened? No, not at all. And look at this new page. Is it perfect? No. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it’s a new start. It’s a new chance to take what we have – and create something meaningful, even something beautiful.
Here’s what we’re each going to do – use your pencil, or crayon, or get a whole bunch of crayons. You can draw an uplifting picture, or you can fill the page with kind words, or you can write an encouraging note for yourself or someone else.
God doesn’t throw away. The power of God’s love transforms.
You took the torn, blurry, wadded up page of your own hurts, and you transformed it into something beautiful. That doesn’t mean the hurts were any less real, or easy to overcome. But it does mean that you have inside you what God placed there from the very beginning – the ability to heal.
Praying Is an Act of Healing
It’s wonderfully reassuring to know that no matter what we’re going through, we can always turn to God in prayer. We can ask God’s help for ourselves or others. And God, like any truly great healer, listens. God always hears our prayers.
We come to you with
Hearts [hands over heart]
Hands [hands raised]
Minds [point to head]
And Souls [praying hands]
In need of your healing touch.
Heal us from the inside out [breathe in and sigh out]
So that we may reach out to help heal your world.