Last October 10th, I prayed this prayer of the day with my parish as many of you did on that Sunday:
Almighty and merciful God, your bountiful goodness fills all creation. Keep us safe from all that may hurt us, that, whole and well in body and spirit, we may with grateful hearts accomplish all that you would have us do, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen
That prayer is lifted up in response to the readings we had for that day about Naaman being healed of his leprosy and Jesus having compassion for ten men who suffered from that same disease that openly ravaged the body for all to see. Now the part that has spoken to me the most as I’ve contemplated that prayer has been the phrase “that, whole and well in body and spirit, we may with grateful hearts accomplish all that you do.”
For those who know me, I have been struggling with my weight and the affect it has on my health and well-being for most of my whole life. Just two days after I led that prayer, a friend and colleague of mine asked if I would come and take a look at a program that he had been involved with, because he cared about me and was concerned with where I was and where I was heading in body and spirit.
That week beginning with worship on that Sunday and continuing with a friend asking and caring about me became a place where Christ met me at a crossroad in my life and spoke a word full of grace and healing that has sent me on a journey where, like the ten lepers in that gospel story from Luke, I am finding that I am being made well.
Since that week in October, I have lost a total of 164lbs. My blood pressure is down at least 20 points, and now I walk for at least 30 minutes everyday. But this is not something that I could have done alone. Without the care and support of my colleagues, without the care and support of all my family and friends, and most especially, without the care and support of the people of my parish, I would not have gotten to the point that I have gotten to this day. In whatever mission endeavor we undertake, that will always hold true. The call to serve God will always be a call that followed within a community that seeks to share the love that our Lord has shown to us on the cross – that ground, that intersection from which we are sent out into the world.