Well it is now over a week since the conference, and I am running out of time to finish these notes. Soon, it will be time to publish some of the hundreds of pictures I have taken. Britain is execptionally beautiful, and our tour is keepiing us very busy. Well, enough of that! Back to the conference.
The second half of the conference focused more on healing and less on “new age.” We covered a bunch of different topics. The focus was healing those who are broken in body or spirit.
Filled with the Spirit.
The Rev. Jack Sheffield from Texas, USA took us back to the roots of the order. Don’t tie yourself up in the brokeness of the church and the world. The world has always been broken. That is why Jesus was sent. That is why we are called. When you see something that needs healing, go, lay your hands on it, and pray to Jesus. He will heal. Do not dialog with those who are lost. Call them to Jesus.
Jack told us the story about how he was at a conference, and there was a little old lady who did not believe. She had never seen a miracle. She told Jack, “You’re exaggerating!” She seemed to think that it is not as simple as ‘have faith, believe, and call on Jesus and he will heal you.’ She did not believe. She said, “Show me a miracle!” Jack said that before the conference was done, she would see a miracle. Then he thought, “Lord what have I done! You need to help me, Lord. Please give us a miracle.” Jack became rather nervous. He fasted. He prayed. For three days he fasted and prayed. Then came the last night. The little lady was staring right at Jack. “I better get my miracle!” Jack prayed to the Lord Jesus to give them a miracle so this woman would believe.
The woman started to feel something in her belly. It was a pain, and it was not hers. She became hot, and filled with the spirit of the Lord. Jack called out to the group, “Who has a pain in their belly? Who needs to be healed.” Someone did have a terrible pain. They had been diagnosedf with GIRD or something. That person went up to the woman, and the woman put her hands on their belly, and that person was healed. And the woman believed. And the people praised and thanked God. The next day, the woman sad, “Well I think I saw a miracle.” Jack just threw up his hands.
The bishop sometimes finds Jack trying. He once asked Jack not to pray about the Spirit for three months. Jack did it, but as the three months were ending, he was filled with the Spirit and he had to preach. As he was preaching, a woman in the audience fell down and died. A doctor who was there pronounced her dead. Jack said, let’s go and pray for her anyway. The ambulance came and took her away, dead at the scene. They threw the blanket over her head and everything. On the way to the hospital, she sat up. Scared the ambulance crew half to death. They found nothing wrong with her. They asked if she would go to the hospital so they could watch her. She said no. “I haven’t had my communion. I want to go back to church.” Image the suprise as she walked in after everyone had seen her pronouced dead and taken away.
Are these stories literally true? I want to believe. God help my unbelief! Dr. Creasy says that if you explain away the miracles in the Bible, you gut the whole story. It loses all meaning and power. If you explain away the miracles in life, you gut life of its meaning and power. So I choose to believe.
After the talk, Jack called us forth to pray for those who needed healing. People prayed. People were filled with the spirit. Many were healed.
Forgiveness and Healing
The next talk was on forgiveness and healing. The Rev. Dr. Tom Brown of England told how he went to Ireland to give a short talk on a day that had been proclained a day of healing and forgiveness. He preached in a large cathedral. No one came. Or not many. They had expected hundreds. They had hoped for thousands. They had about a hundred.
After the talk, a man came up to Tom and asked that if it could be set it up, would Tom Brown come talk at his church? Tom, thinking that this man was have his people call Tom’s people, and maybe they would schedule something in a few weeks, said “Sure.” The man got on his cell phone and started making calls. In five minutes, they were in a car driving to the 10am mass. “Mass?”, Tom thought, “I guess this is a Catholic service, or a very high Anglican one.” Tom usually prepares his talks ahead of time. He had 15 minutes. So he prayed the Lord would give him the words. The Lord told him, “It doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you apologize.”
There were about 2000 people at the mass. The priest introduced Tom, “Well we don’t normally have a talk, but today this Englishman is hear to give a speach.” The priest glared at Tom and sat down. Tom said that he wasn’t a official from the government, nor was he a particularly important person in the church. Just a parish priest. But for all the things his people did to their people, he apologized. It wasn’t their land. The English had no right to take it. And they should not have waited so long to give it back. He was sorry. The congregation went wild: cheering and clapping. Once he had made it through that service, it turned out that there was another in an hour.
Then there was a yet another service across town. Before that one, Tom said, “Do you mind if I take a few minutes and make some notes.” “We have waited over 800 years for this apology; a few minutes more won’t make any difference.” They got to the point in the service, and Tom said his apology. There was dead silence. Everything was still. The priest’s mike must have been on, because you could hear him, saying to himself, “What do I do? What should I do?” Then the priest came over to Tom and whispered, “What do I do?” Tom said, “Your the celebrant priest; you can do anything you like.” Tom says, “Then he completely undid me. He got down on his knees in front of me, and said, ‘I apologize for all the bombs and the IRA and the killings.”
People and lands remember the deep hurts. Forgiveness is needed to heal. One must be humble, and accept God’s healing and his guidance.
Our Broken Children: Bleeding as a Rite of Passage
Our last speaker talked of the work she does at Holyrood House. This is a residential care facility for troubled, abused, and self destructive teens and adults. She talked of the stress young people are under these days, and how they seek to relieve the stress with cutting and other self destructive behavior. This is not a new phenomena. People from many cultures in different times have cut or scarred themselves as they enter adulthood. She showed pictures of people decorated with scars, tatoos, and ornaments. Young people starve themselves and purge, as well as cut, tattoo, or pierce themselves to become individuals.
The people who come to Holyrood House are often from abusive homes. They have no control in their lives and so hurt themselves to give them some small sense of control. They choose when and how to hurt themselves. They are in control. Or so they think. At Holyrood, they find enough safety that they are able to examine the painful and hurting areas of their lives, alone or with a counselor. “They are safe enough to be unsafe,” said one young man who stayed there.
Many of the OSL found this talk very difficult. The frank discussion of these young people’s pain, and the way they act it out, was terrible to hear. I, personally felt physically ill, and I had to leave for a while. Also, the order was exposed to a horrible reality, but we were not given any tools to address the situation. Reactions included anger, disgust, and frustration. Many felt that this talk was not appropriate or helpful.
I am glad we heard the talk. The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge and understand it. Also, we learned that this is not a new problem, and will not likely go away. Further, if we had such a reaction simply hearing about people with this problem, imagine if we were to actually be confronted by a young man or woman looking for help. If we became appalled and revolted when face to face with a person in pain, I think our reaction would only cause more harm. They need understanding, love, hope, professional care, and the power of prayer.
John Scott again addressed us in closing. I barely remember what was said now, but I believe he charged us to go forth, healing and addressing the hurts we have discussed during the conference. Again, there was prayer and song. The final closing ceremony include a eucharist and an induction of new members. Then we said goodbye to the new friends we had made who had come from Europe, Australia, the UK, and elsewhere in North American. And we began our tour of Britain: England, Scotland, and Wales. Two more weeks in Britain. Pam and I are very excited.