A pencil (or crayon) and a sheet of paper – 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
This is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent. It’s a time when we do our best to turn away from things that would keep us from growing closer with God. Lent is often a time where people give up something (a food or habit), or take on something new (volunteering, reading more).
But in many ways this whole year has felt like one long Lent, hasn’t it? We’ve all had to give up so much, whether we chose to or not. And we’ve all found ourselves taking on new things, and learning new skills, if only to help us get through this hard time.
Our bodies are tired. Our minds are overwhelmed. Our souls are weary. What we need right now is healing.
And a very important part of healing is telling the truth about what hurts. Think about it. Imagine you’re sick and you go to the doctor. But when you arrive and the doctor asks you to describe what’s wrong, you say, “Oh, nothing.” The doctor wouldn’t know what to do.
So before we can mend, we must first name what’s broken. Before we can dance in the light, we must first acknowledge the night.
Find a sheet of paper and a pencil or crayon.
On one side of the paper, write down 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.
Are you ready to move on from your hurts? I know I am. What if we just erased all these hurts and made them go away. Erase everything you just wrote. Or, if you used a crayon, scribble over what you wrote.
No matter how much I erase, I can still see the hurts. And even if you scribbled over the hurts with crayon, those hurts are still on the page, they’re just covered. I guess we can’t pretend that the hurts never happened. I know, let’s wad them up and toss them to the ground.
Well, it still didn’t get rid of the hurts, and it made a mess on the floor. But I’ve got another idea.
Let’s just tear this whole sheet of paper in half. Good-bye, hurts!
Hmm. I wonder if that made a difference. Or are the hurts still there?
Friends, I’ve never done this before, but this time together is going to be a bit of a cliff-hanger. Just like real hurts, we can’t always wrap up everything in a nice little bow – problem solved.
But we will come back to this in a few days. Keep this sheet of paper (well, two smaller sheets). You’ll need it for our next time together.
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.