February 28, 2014
Written by Steven Liechty

Donna Schaper

"This man is worthy of healing." - Luke 7:4–10

Philip Seymour Hoffman died in early February, up the street, across from one of the more exemplary families in our Sunday School.  Hoffman was an exemplary actor.  He also had a fault line deep within him.  I'm betting our exemplary Sunday School family does too.

Hoffman's death plunged the users in the congregation—and our local NPR station—into near hysteria on the topic of drug use.  "What if the insurance company discovers me with dirty urine?"  Another, already using heavily and suicidal, said, "You know I don't really care about dying from this drug.  What I care about is the intensity.  I need to feel something.  I need to feel recognized, noticed, useful.  Nobody sees me.  So I use.  I don't care if I die. I am in it for the minutes."

The disciples would not be happy.  When they ask for healing for the centurion, they assure Jesus that "this man is worthy of healing."

Is there a place between blaming a person for their sickness—whatever it is—and paying for healing with worthiness?  Is there a middle way, a field beyond blame?  What if we have a good resume and our children attend Sunday School every week?  Can we earn healing or does it come from a grace line, the one below our accomplishments?  I'm betting you'd like to know because, like me, some part of you is sick and doesn't know how to get well.


Spirit of wellness, we understand what the disciples were doing.  They were partisan for their friend.  Help us be partisan plus or post partisan, on behalf of the part of each of us that refuses healing .  Amen

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.

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