Healers by Rev. Charlie Dupree

When I was a campus minister, I had a student, Jane (not her real name.) Jane wanted to be a doctor. She studied and studied and studied, as anyone in the medical field must do.

After a few years, she called and wanted to discuss a very serious matter.

“I no longer want to be a doctor,” she said. “I want to be a priest.”

Jane was distressed that she hadn’t discovered this earlier. “I’ve wasted so much time,” she said.

“You’ve not wasted any time,” I told her. “You’ve been learning how to be a healer. God will put that to very good use.”

On Monday, we celebrated the Feast of St. Luke, the writer of our fourth gospel and the book known as the Acts of the Apostles. Luke includes in his Gospel some familiar and important pieces, primarily the Nativity narrative that is unique to his telling. Without it, we’d have not familiar stories of journeys to Bethlehem, booked inns, and shepherds keeping their flocks by night. Also important is his sequel: the Acts of the Apostles in which Luke gives us a glimpse into how the church was born (the story of Pentecost) and how it grew and spread through the travels of Paul.

In addition to being an important Gospel writer, though, Luke is also believed to have been a physician. We’re not sure if he healed with stethoscopes and/or with medical procedures, but we have come to regard his Gospel as the “social gospel” – in it more than all the other Gospels, Jesus creates a healing space for the least, the last, and the lost. Whether he had a prescription pad or a writing pad – a stethoscope or a listening ear – medical school or not – Luke was a healer.

There are many different ways to be a healer. Jane thought she was called to be one type of healer, only. But God, as God often does, had God’s own, unique twist on this plan. I think of the physicians and the nurses and the members of the medical community that I know. They are skilled medical professionals; I would turn to any of them to tend to a bump, a bruise, or a worry. More importantly, though, I would turn to them when I’m scared. They are gentle, caring souls – a needed gift.

We are all healers. In what ways do you bring healing to others? In what ways do others bring healing to you?

Thank God for St. Luke and for his Gospel of hope and inclusivity. And thanks, especially in this time, for our medical professionals and caregivers who continue to bring healing to those who are sick, scared, and suffering. May God continue to work through them and through each of us, in our own way, to bring health and wholeness to our community and world.

A Prayer for the Feast of St. Luke

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.