Wholeness Not Fragmentation

Aidan of Lindesfarne

We renounce the spirit of self-sufficient autonomy, and are committed to a much more holistic approach which was the strength of the Celtic church. We encourage the ministry of Christian healing. We not only lay hands on the sick and pray for their healing, we also “lay hands” on every part of God’s world to bless it and recognize its right to wholeness in Christ.

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“We renounce the spirit of self-sufficient autonomy, and are committed to a much more holistic approach which was the strength of the Celtic church.”

In the beginning, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And thus God made for man a partner. We are not complete in ourselves without others, without companions, without a community. No one can do everything alone. The self-made man is a modern day myth. All of us are stronger than any of us.

Last week at the retreat, we had a campfire at the picnic shelter. When almost everyone had gone back to their cabins, the fire was still blazing strong. If we did nothing, it would still be smouldering come morning.

“How do we put it out?” someone asked. And being an old Boy Scout, I said, “I know how. We will need water and a big stick.”

I found a suitable stick in the wood pile, and began to separate the burning logs. I took the water, and began, not pouring it on the fire, but splashing it on the hotter spots. There was a hissing and steam arising, but slowly the fire began to die. Further stirring and separating the hot embers, and splashing on the hot spots, the fire was reduced to glowing coals and ash. Eventually it went out.

By separating the logs, and dampening the enthusiasm of the community, the church is likewise put out. When we are joined together, when we work side by side, then the Body of Christ, the People of God remain strong.

As the Community of Aidan and Hilda, we look back to and seek to learn from the ancient Celtic saints. And even when they retreated to their caves or monasteries or remote isolated islands, they were still part of a community, remembering and praying for one another. We are a community, even though we are scattered over much of the globe.

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“We encourage the ministry of Christian healing. We not only lay hands on the sick and pray for their healing, we also “lay hands” on every part of God’s world to bless it and recognize its right to wholeness in Christ.”

About a month ago in the little congregation where I worship, the Spirit moved. One of our members who has a chronic mental illness came forward at the conclusion of the service and asked for our prayers. The pastor turned to the congregation, and asked if there were any others who would like to have the elders lay on hands and pray for them. Three MORE came forward. The four elders and the pastor then laid on hands, and we prayed for them at length, and continue to hold them in our prayers. In the weeks since then, there have still been problems, but there has also been a remarkable change in attitude and in spirit. There has been a greater ability to cope with what life has thrown at him.

And all this seems to be related to the word, “Shalom”. We all know that Shalom is Hebrew for peace. But it is also the word for health, for healing, for integrity/integration. Peace is healing of brokenness; among people, within oneself, in one’s thinking. It is God’s bringing order out of the chaos of our lives.

There is no peace without healing, and no healing outside of right relationships. And right relationships are the hallmark of a community at peace.

(c) 2013

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