February 9, 2020
Surgery, complications from surgery, adverse reactions to medications, and more emergency room visits than I can remember have been an unfortunate fact of life for us as a family. When we’d go to the emergency room, I was always prepared for, yet staggered by, a question the triage nurses are required to ask of everyone: “Are you safe at home?”
Thankfully, my answer was “yes,” but the fact that they ask the question at all means that not everyone can answer the same way. The National Council on Aging estimates that 5 million seniors per year are victims of elder abuse. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, about 20 people experience physical violence from their intimate partners every minute in the United States. I always wonder how often triage nurses hear the more difficult answer to their question, and I’m led to pray for the times they do.
Bodies are beautiful, intricate and fragile things. Sometimes they get sick due to no one’s fault. Viruses invade our bloodstreams and wreak havoc on our systems. Cells divide and mutate, destroying the healthy cells around them. A miscalculated footstep can lead to broken bones and summer-ruining casts. But sometimes our health is impacted by forces outside of us. Racialized violence bludgeons bodies rich in melanin. Gender violence maims female and non-binary bodies. Sometimes cells mutate because of the toxic waste that was callously dumped on nearby land. And too often, bodies don’t get the support they need because they lack access to care.
The church is called to right relationships with God and neighbor, and the natural outcome of those relationships is good health. Sickness is an inevitability of life, but I believe God expects us to not exacerbate the inevitable.
Rev. Denise Anderson; Coordinator; Racial and Intercultural Justice; Compassion, Peace & Justice; Presbyterian Mission Agency
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, February 9, 2020, the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Today’s Focus: Health Awareness and Day of Prayer for Healing and Wholeness
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Holy One, in whom we live and move and have our being, we ask for healing for those who are ill. Bless the professionals who treat them, and where their treatment stops, let your healing continue. Help us to eradicate illnesses caused by injustice, indifference, hatred and strife by making us agents of your peace and justice. In the name of Jesus, who healed the sick of body and spirit. Amen.