Today's reading: James 5
Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5: 14 NRSV
It seems like when November begins, all the illnesses begin to spread around from group to group. I hear of sick children home from school, folks in the church absent because of illness and how to prevent the spread of germs in the media. And I begin to dread the holiday season because I just know I am going to catch something. I suppose it is because I get highly stressed and very tired, making myself especially vulnerable to diseases.
Well, James gives advice but not on how to avoid getting sick. Instead, we are told that those that are sick should ask for the elders of the church to come pray over them and anoint them with oil. In reality, I know that sick folks rarely ask for folks to come pray over them or anoint them. Usually they ask for prayer from the congregation as a whole. But they neither ask for nor expect hands-on "live" prayer. It is interesting that the congregation is not told to go pray over them but for the sick person to ask for the prayer. And not just prayer but anointing of oil, which we do infrequently in my own congregation.
How often have you asked for prayer when you have been sick? Have you asked to be anointed with oil? To be prayed over by a group from a church?
God, when we are sick please help us to ask for prayer. And give us courage to ask for a laying-on of hands and anointing of oil in the name of our precious Lord. We pray in his name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims