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Please join our brothers and sisters of all faith traditions and race, in prayer for the healing of our nation in the wake of the homeland violence in Virginia this week. We affirm our baptismal vows to resist oppression and evil wherever it exists, knowing that as hate is born of fear, healing and reconciliation is born of love. Join me throughout this next week as we pray for guidance and for courage to love boldly.

Pastor’s Pen August 15, 2017

But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' John 5:11

Reading biblical stories about Jesus’ power to heal encourages our faith in times like these. We need a sturdy word of hope. Fortunately, it is available.

Today we remember the woman with the hemorrhage who was healed simply by touching his garment. I picture the blind man at the pool of Siloam, his sight restored after Jesus put mud on his eyes. I imagine the paralytic man—lowered through the roof—who took up his mat and walked at Jesus’ command.

Jesus said, “When I’m gone from your sight, remember me, remember me. Remember me when you break bread, remember me when you love one another. Remember me when you heal in my name. Remember me. Remember me.

“A woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and barely touched his clothes. She had said to herself, ‘If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.’ Jesus turned. He saw the woman and said, ‘Don’t worry! You are now well because of your faith.’ At that moment, she was healed.” (Matthew 9:20-22)

“Remember me”, Jesus said, “Remember me.”

“Jesus went to every town and village. He taught in their meeting places and preached the good news about God’s kingdom. Jesus also healed every kind of disease and sickness.” Matthew 9:35

Jesus said, “Remember me, remember me.”

Jesus said, “Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or tell him to get up and pick up his mat and go on home? I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth. So Jesus said to the man, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home.’ The man got right up. He picked up his mat and went out while everyone watched in amazement.” (Mark 2:9-12a)

“Remember me”, Jesus said, “Remember me.”

“As he was going into a village, ten men with leprosy came toward him. They stood at a distance and shouted, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’ On their way, they were healed. When one of them discovered he was healed, he came back, shouting praises to God. He bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” (Luke 17:12-16a)

“Remember me”, Jesus said, “Remember me.”

“After Jesus said this, he spit on the ground. He made some mud and smeared it on the man’s eyes. Then he said, ‘Go and wash off the mud in Siloam Pool.’ The man went and washed in Siloam, which means ‘One Who Is Sent.’ When he had washed off the mud, he could see.” (John 9:6-7)

“Remember me, Remember me.”

If Jesus could and did do all this for them, what more can the power of God do through the Holy Spirit at work in our wounded world? God restores the wounded places of our lives and of our world before we think to ask for it. And then, God simply invites us to remember the Holy One who heals and transforms all manner of things.

Prayer: Lord of Life, you know exactly what the world needs to be made well before ever I think to ask for it. I trust you wholly to heal all things bitter and broken. With overwhelming gratitude that fear, anger and divisiveness can and will be healed, I join a growing river of people committed to love boldly, and indeed to always remember you. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland

MEMORIAL SERVICE TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16 AT 11 A.M. Please join us for worship Wednesday morning as we celebrate the life of Meredith Starbranch and commend her life to God in glory.

NEXT WEEK: WATCH THIS SPACE to learn more about First Parish’s new initiative, Mission at Home. Your Mission team invites you to join an email cadre of people in our church, willing to receive notices from time to time of personal need in our community. If you would like the opportunity to hear about how you can help a neighbor, knowing that perhaps from time to time you will be available to do so, please respond yes to this email and you will be added to a list of resources to more effectively care for your friends and neighbors at home.

More information will follow next week.