MAKING EVERYTHING WORK TOGETHER
IN THE NAME OF JESUS
The Healing Ministry of Jesus, and
the Healing Ministry of Familia Latina Unida
Third Sunday in the Season of Galilee
In “The Church in La Lucha”
Today, we look at the healing power of Jesus –and what we should learn from it. Today, we look at what it takes to make everything work together, in our lives, in our struggle.
Last night, pastora Emma had to go back into the hospital. We worked to get her the best medical attention we could get at the hospital, calling doctors we knew, following what the doctors and nurses did. And we prayed: we prayed with her, with our family and I prayed alone for her. I know that almost everyone here has been in that situation. We wanted to get everything working together: doctors, hospitals. The love and unity of our family, prayer- and the healing power of God. I am blessed to report that she is doing better.
Yesterday, we had our first 4 plus 1 health screening. Our goal is to get 1,000 young students learning and working, to each get 10 people through the screenings for breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hiv/aids: and to get those ten enrolled in the discipline of exercise and healthy diet.
Part of our goal is to recruit an army of young people, some of whom will become doctors and nurses and health workers, and all of whom will fight to close the twenty year life gap between the uninsured and undocumented of our community and the insured middle class.
It is a fight for life. We die twenty years sooner because we do not have early detection of preventable disease, because we do not live disciplined healthy lives, and because we do not get the treatment we need.
We are working to build our army of young health fighters, and our community of 10,000 people who get screened and working to get them the treatment they will need for the conditions they find when they are screened.
We have all the pieces to work with. We have the hospitals involved in the screening and we have begun the process of negotiating with them to take care of the uninsured and the undocumented. We have the young people and we are organizing the ten thousand. We have our faith. We have all the pieces but we need to get them all working together in unity.
And the struggle to get back the twenty years of life they are taking from us, the struggle that we wage here, will be a spark to light a fire across the nation next year. Remember, Obama’s health reform excluded the undocumented and even the legal permanent residents from its national insurance. The fight we are organizing here will go national, just as the fight we started here to stop the separation of families became a national struggle: but it will take unity, getting everything to work together. And unity will require faith and discipline.
It will take faith and discipline in each person’s life and in each family – and that is perhaps the hardest task. Our struggle, each families struggle, depends on each of us choosing priorities, making good decisions, and keeping strong in our faith.
The Discretion Defense work we are doing, using the new policies we have won to fight deportations, also requires unity. It began eleven years ago, when we identified for the whole nation that the broken immigration law was separating families. Through your faith, through Elvira’s Faith, that movement has finally won relief for thousands of families.
We believed that “What God had put together, no man should separate.” We believed that God was working through our families to raise up new generations of His people to become as many as the stars in the sky and to change this nation. And we believed that the powerful call of family unity could bring different things together and lead to victory.
We still have a lot of work to do to make the policy we won work – and to take it deeper towards legalization. We are working on a lot of cases and we are organizing a new commission to make sure ICE respects the families and does not deport our people. Next month I will go to Texas and New York to help them organize. Because we need to get all the cities, all the positive forces in those cities, working together.
As in the fight for 4 plus 1 to get 20, we are organizing for life, for our God is a God of life. And that takes unity. And unity depends on the strength and discipline of the faith of each one of us.
We are seeking the vision of the message we should be receiving, living in and delivering this year from Jesus in the Gospels we study. There are three things we should take from the scriptures today.
When Jesus healed the leper, he healed him physically but he also healed him socially. As a leper he was excluded from going to the temple, excluded from getting work. When he was healed, Jesus told him to go to the Temple and get himself certified so he could work, get him his papers.
Secondly, we learn about the friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus, lowered him down through the roof. He was paralyzed in his body. He was also paralyzed by poverty and discrimination – and he was paralyzed in his spirit. But his friends had faith and unity. They challenged the powerful people that surrounded Jesus. They took action together. And by their faith, he was healed. And Jesus said his sins were forgiven; that is, he was no longer paralyzed by being labeled a sinner, an illegal, and excluded. And he no longer accepted being a sinner, separated from God. The unity of his friends did that for him, their unity with each other, and their unity with Jesus.
Finally, we hear Jesus say again and again “By your faith you are healed.” That is something we really need to understand. When your faith is strong, something wonderful happens. You are close to God. You choose God and his Kingdom and his law over the temptations and prizes and the unjust laws of man. That changes you and as each of you change, you get the power of unity, the power to make everything work together.
We are making change for our people and for ourselves by changing ourselves. Our faith, our theology of liberation, tells us that we first free ourselves and then we liberate our people. And we free ourselves through obedience to God.
There is a wonderful spirituality to the healing of the Kingdom of God. When the people saw Jesus heal people they were amazed. They felt the presence of God in him and in the healing: when he put his hands on the leper and the sores disappeared; when he put his hand on the paralytic and he got up and walked.
We have seen people healed through our prayers. And we often see healers, even on television, and we don’t know whether to believe them. That is because they separate their healing of the person from the rest of the person’s life. You cannot separate the health of the body from the injustice a person lives in. If you do, the healing is only temporary. That is what Jesus taught. That is what we practice in this church.
But remember the healing in the Bible. Jesus healed both the sickness and the hatred and discrimination against the leper and the paralytic. You see in the Bible, the mind and the body, the spiritual and the physical, the individual and the social, are not separated. That is because, in the Kingdom of God, there is no separation!
The devil separates and divides, just as the devil separates families to stop the life and numbers of the people of God. God unifies: God puts the pieces back together. These politicians who talk about faith and family, as they were doing in South Carolina yesterday in the Republican primary, while they are also trying to deport and separate families, they are doing the devil’s work – and they are going straight to hell. Don’t go with them!
When you pray, when you are in the presence of God, living in His kingdom, according to His authority, according to His law, then you experience the power of unity, of everything working together.
That is what we are working for. That is why we need God in our lives and in our families and in our struggle. But faith which brings the power of unity also requires discipline.
Your decisions have consequences – way beyond what you can see at the time.
When you slip from a faithful life, it can tear apart your family. And if your family falls apart, that has consequences for everyone around you because we are all connected.
You know it is true. When one family starts fighting, when a husband and wife start fighting, the children get confused and do crazy things. The church is split, the struggle gets off course.
You have to get over the idea that you can just make a decision for yourself, you have to get over the idea that those decisions won’t affect a lot of people, affect the church, affect the whole struggle.
We have seen what the faithfulness of one person, like Elvira Arellano, can do for a whole people. We have seen what the faith and unity of this church did to win protection for millions of people. But every time someone makes a decision to forget about God, to break his laws, to be unable to forgive, to be selfish, that can stop God’s work from being done in a whole family, a whole church- in a whole struggle!
So we are required to have discipline in our faith, discipline in our health, discipline in our work and in our love.
Our vision is coming clearer. We need to step up and claim the victory of healing, the victory of unity, and the victory that comes when everything works together.
Sure you have to work hard. You have to discipline yourself. You have to watch your tongue. You have to forgive. You have to turn away from temptation. You have to be patient. You have to be courageous.
But God is waiting there to help you! Listen to the words from today’s reading:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children
Open your hearts and His Spirit will fill you up and surround you, lift you up and make your burden light. This is His Creation – not Gingrich’s, not Obama’s, not the rich man’s, – it is His Creation. He can make everything work together because everything is His Creation. You are His People. He is Your God. In Him, in his Kingdom, the victory is already won. Claim it in your life. Claim the Victory!
Amen Amen Amen
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children
Mark 1:40-45 Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant.[b] He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
Mark 2:1-11 Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”