Series 1, Episode 5: Healing and Disability

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Show Notes

In this episode we have two fantastic guests; Fr. Mark Turner and Rev’d Vanessa Layfield. Using their wealth of knowledge we explore in this amazing conversation what healing and disability can mean to us in our own faith journey. We look at everything from the bible to personal experience. The following references were made in this episode:

Accessibility Audit: https://www.chester.anglican.org/outreach/disability-and-inclusion/accessibility-audits/

Chester Diocese, Disability and Inclusion: https://www.chester.anglican.org/outreach/disability-and-inclusion/

Disability and Jesus: https://www.chester.anglican.org/outreach/disability-and-inclusion/

Disability Awareness Service https://www.chester.anglican.org/news/disability-awareness-day–12-september.php

Nancy L. Eisland (1994), The Disabled God

Philip Yancey (1990), Where is God when it hurts: https://philipyancey.com/where-is-god-when-it-hurts

Vanessa Layfield’s email address: vanessa.layfield@chester.anglican.org

Transcription

Unknown Speaker 0:11 Welcome to journeying faithfully, our podcast about faith, discipleship, everything in between where the series we’re discussing health and the church. I am Reverend Josh, I’m Vicar of Norbury church. And my co host With me today is

Unknown Speaker 0:29 Ashleigh I am I training Vicar. I have other various roles have been interested in health and faith for a long time. And what are we up to this podcast? Ashleigh? It’s really exciting. This podcast, we actually have two guests on this evening. We have Vanessa and Mark, I’ll let them explain a little bit more about who they are. And but yeah, it’s really exciting.

Unknown Speaker 1:01 Wonderful. Shall we dive into this episode, which has so much wisdom and wealth of knowledge from these two wonderful people, two people get to call friends and journey with, but just have you have so much experience and far more knowledge than we do? And should we dive in? Definitely people gonna learn a lot. I certainly did.

Unknown Speaker 1:39 It’s lovely to have you with us this evening on our podcast, journeying faithfully. I wonder if in a few words, you could just introduce yourself to those who may be in our audience haven’t heard of you that they could just to get to know brief briefly where you are, what your role is, and a bit bit about yourself, really. So Vanessa, do you want to go for

Unknown Speaker 2:00 sure. Thank you very much, Josh, me and Ashleigh. It’s really lovely that you’ve invited me along. And we’re looking forward to, to speaking with you, this evening having this conversation. And so you can probably see from the screen that I’m the inclusion officer for the Diocese of Chester, I didn’t start out in the in that role actually started out as the engagement and inclusion officer for families and disabilities. So it’s kind of a three day in a row. Just disability advisor for the diocese, and he is so yeah, we really love it. I actually love working with people. And I’m in support of other people. things, you know, based on ethnicity, to mention, you know, mental health and disability. And when I’m working with a living on faith conversation, as well at the moment for the diocese. And also curates occurred at St. Mary’s Church in Nantwich. And I’m still a registered social worker by profession. Wow, I’d love to have it’s not tonight’s conversation. But I’d love to have a conversation about how you manage to juggle all those roles. Sure, you have family and friends as well, that you you spend time with, I’d love to have a conversation about how you juggle all that. Because I definitely think I’m struggling. I think it’s called spinning plates. Mark, would you introduce yourself as well, please?

Unknown Speaker 3:48 My name is Mark Turner. I am. I’m a chaplainm a school chaplain. But I also serve an altar in Eastham and the people of Eastham. That’s where I’m self supporting minister, have to think well that is sometimes I’m a member of Chester diocese Disability Forum, where a group of us meet together to just talk over some of the issues presented within the diocese in terms of disability. So but I come here today just as me and offer my humble opinion of views.

Unknown Speaker 4:26 Thank you both. And, well, this series. In our podcast, we’ve been looking at health, discipleship, and looking about how health can impact our faith and what we can learn from habits of health, and how that can intersect with our faith journey. And we’re really interested tonight about having a conversation around disability and faith. And as many of you know, I’m the vicar of norbury and one of my first Sundays here and a member of the congregation came to me at the end of the service and said, I’m just not quite sure I fit here because of who I am. And when we unpack that it was a lot of that was to do with them just not feeling the same as everyone else. And some of that was to do with disability. And it made me start to think about the negative stories that we put on ourselves. Because, you know, of our disability that we have, I mean, you know, I can often put myself down because of my learning difficulties and things that I’m not quite as bright as everyone else. And so, really, we want to have that conversation about linking disability healing faith all together, and just to debunk some of those myths and have a practical conversation about what our fake journeys look like, in us. And so the first question that I’m going to pose to us all I’m actually pleased to chip in is, what is disability? How would we define disability? Shall I go first? Yeah, okay.

Unknown Speaker 6:04 There is the, the Equality Act 2010 defines a person disabled if they have a mental or physical impairment, which has both long term and substantial negative implications for completing normal day to day tasks. But I think there are other definitions as well, we have the medical model. And the medical model defines disability as a damage to a person’s body or mental functioning, requiring a diagnosis care and professional treatment. So that is like well, you know, the doctor has to kind of get involved and, and trips to the hospital, it comes under the being treated and diagnosis. The social model argues that the problem should not be located within the individual, but it’s actually the disabling environments. And that that excludes and denigrates often, people with disabilities, so those those three so so my own view is that his his society more so that disables people, because it is a it’s a form of social oppression. And that results from the environments and suited to the needs of disabled people.

Unknown Speaker 7:49 I think, then something I was a pharmacist have been interested in health and disability for a long time. And I always really struggle with the medical one, and how negative it can come across. And how someone reading that may actually feel.

Unknown Speaker 8:10 Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And we’ll go on to talk about later on the theology that underpins that social worker more than more than the medical model a bit later.

Unknown Speaker 8:24 The medical model is, in some respects needed, but not to be, not to be sort of lorded over, it’s really, that that need to be diagnosed is important. And that’s where it comes from. But my problem with that is that it’s a doctor that decides if you’re disabled or not. And it’s not, it’s not their body. As much as I adore doctors. And trust me, if any of my doctors are watching this, they know how much I love them for all that they do to me. But they do it to me. And they do it for me, but they do it to me, sometimes, especially when I’ve been particularly poorly. They’ve not done it with me. And that’s that’s particularly hard to deal with. But it makes a person fit some kind of norm now what if you don’t? What if your symptoms, what if your condition, what if your body isn’t the same as the person next to you? So there’s a whole load of things that the medical model, and thankfully it was quickly thrown out. But it is important to kind of Yeah, I think it’s important to mention it I think Vanessa’s really right to mention it is part of it. But from a disabled person’s point of view. It’s the least loved but the one that happens the most. The other thing that you mentioned that Vanessa was that the social model and that I mean Kind of that throws up so many things, doesn’t it Really? That, that it’s not? It’s society that puts us down. It’s I’m gonna mention it in a moment. It’s also like the use of language as well, I think it’s, it’s people’s attitudes that so for instance, I’m also dyslexic Josh. And, and it kind of amazes me when I go and listen to people preach, when they use these fabulously long words, I have to take a moment just to think now it’s not to say that I’m, as I was once told by a teacher, yeah, thick. It’s nothing to do with that, actually, it was just take a moment extra, a half a beat to process that just bear with me. But preachers in church use those big long words out there, or, or they’ll give us these big books for text is that you know, are kind of our big liturgy books, thick, full of words, I’ve got to find the place, I should know what I’m doing. So those kind of barriers that we put in place. Those uses of language, like, for instance, can’t stand the word disabled toilet. What about accessible toilets, these small little things? So our use of language, and that’s linked into the social model how society puts us down. I totally agree what Vanessa says that.

Unknown Speaker 11:24 Yes, this is this is the empowerment and disempowerment. It is empowerment when we feel we go to the doctors, and we’ve been we’ve been done to, like Mark said, and it the empowerment of the social model and empowers other people to live as normal life as as they should be able to.

Unknown Speaker 11:48 Yeah, I mean, when I went down to Lambeth palace a few years ago to a disability conference with about 200 delegates in the room. And Professor John Swinson was speaking and he’s renowned theologian and disability theologian and his question to us each was how can you make a diamond of disability provision in your diocese, for a piece of charcoal, and the any, any purchase into 20 groups of 10. And we will have to discuss this on our fate amongst us at the 10 on the table. And I was quite new at that points. And I said to those who I was sitting amongst, well, I’m really excited because I’m used to post and I can’t wait to, to create a diamond of disability provision for our diocese. And there was a lady next to me a wheelchair user actually, who became a cross. And she said, I’m sick to death of, of non disabled people telling us how to make a diamond of disability provision. And she had made very big assumptions, because I have a hidden disability. I have a daughter that has a disability. And I’m, you know, experienced social worker working with children with disabilities. And I said to her, that, but she had made assumptions. And we do I mean, we all do it. Don’t we all make assumptions about people from the from the sound of their voice, the car, they drive and the size of their house, you know, the colour of their skin, you know, they we just make assumptions all the time about people. And I think that’s what was on my first lessons at university. When I started my social work degree, we were given an a4 sheets of face faces with people in in different attagirl clothing, and then their their occupations on another piece of paper. We had to match the occupation. With the first and it was actually this is your first lesson social workers never make assumptions about anybody.

Unknown Speaker 14:25 That can be so hard, especially in churches when you face on a Sunday morning. Because, you know, even when when someone comes to church, we don’t know anything about them. And we can make so many assumptions just by looking at them. On our we think they can read as you say, an order of service and they understand the liturgy. Even on a normal Sunday, you can struggle with the liturgy if you don’t understand Anglicanism, it starts in one place and you need to have 14 different books or you used to have 14 different books to juggle and we make all these assumptions Without Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 15:01 yeah. And this is particularly appropriate when we think about disability and healing. We’ll come on to a bit later. But I just sort of mention it briefly here because I think it’s about us. We’re talking about assumptions. So if somebody who has a disability goes to the altar, for a laying on of hands off a prayer, the person who is who is on the other side offering the prayer will assume that they are going for healing because they have a disability.

Unknown Speaker 15:29 Yeah. Yeah. Quite. Yeah. quite dangerous, actually. Absolutely. And you’re right. Well, I think hopefully, we’ll come on to that later, when we think about healing. But it’s those hidden disabilities, that people make massive assumptions, because we try and we try and make people conform, sometimes to our way of doing things. Now, if someone’s gonna, you know, back related issues, and they just need to stand during the service, surely, they should be allowed to do that. Rather than sit, stand, sit, stand, and we do like to do that, it’s like a workout in church, sometimes, you know, you’re up and down. But it’s about taking people as they are not what we assume that they’re going to be, I mean, certainly hidden disabilities, autism, my, my son went to a church as well, we went to a church as a family. And he’s autistic, on the autistic spectrum. And he had a very particular way of approaching that situation. And because he didn’t conform to that particular church, his way of, he was asked several times to be quiet, he actually wasn’t making a noise. I know what children and he wasn’t, he was the I’m not just saying that cuz I’m his dad. What he was made to try and conform, even if I tried to, I tried to explain it to the church Warden several times, and he just would not get what was going on. So. So it’s about kind of being aware and knowing that just because someone uses a blue badge, doesn’t mean that they necessarily have two wheels attached to them. You know, so there you go.

Unknown Speaker 17:13 It’s really important that you talked about language earlier. And somebody came to me a couple of weeks, and I’ve been pondering it since then, I think it’s really clever, often inject we say, if you’re able, please stand. And that’s one example. But how about changing the word able to if you’re comfortable. So actually, if you’re comfortable, please. And if you’re comfortable, say, you know, it’s about welcome people where they’re at, isn’t it and making them understand that it’s about their comfort, rather than their ability to do something?

Unknown Speaker 17:46 Noting when people are comfortable, I think that that sort of makes them much more aware of what’s there. Therefore, you know, if you’re, if you’re more worried about. I hate going into church services, or sitting at the front, right at the front as a member of the congregation, because my worry is that I have to get up and go. So I will spend the rest of that service stressing, which I don’t need to, I don’t even pay attention to the service, because I’m more worried about making a fool of myself. What what how does that gonna work because I have to stand up and go to the toilet and come back. That’s not my thing for you still, pressure. And again, it goes back to that this is the social model, doesn’t it? Because it’s the the pressure that not only society puts on us to conform, but we put on ourselves to conform as well. Because we don’t want to be different. We don’t want to stand out we want to be kind of, you know, the same as I’m not sure that that’s, that’s if we’ve got to be really inclusive. If you want the church to be somewhere where everyone’s welcome. There isn’t the days gone by and we need to move forward.

Unknown Speaker 18:54 Yeah, and sadly, people need to feel this often feel that they need to be given permission, don’t they? You know, I mean? Yes, we can say what if you feel comfortable but those those people with hidden to spit out this disabled people may not feel comfortable just to just to stay seated, perhaps. Even though they they would be comfortable, because they want to be this you know what, everybody needs to be the same for some people don’t they all we all need to behave in the same way. And I think if they’ve given permission, we you know, we just want everybody to to just be how you are, be who you are. And be and and we are all should let’s, let’s affirm. That’s okay. Let’s all make that affirmation. That’s okay. Everybody, it’s okay. You’re okay, I’m okay. I think there’s a book about that, isn’t it? years ago.

Unknown Speaker 19:55 I think we’re a little bit ahead but it’s actually fine, but I’ve just written ahead of Some of the takeaways i’d love people to think about at the end of our podcasts evening, but I wonder if to begin with, we could go back to looking at how the Bible talks about about disability. And and if there are passages that may be coming to your mind when you think about disability in the Bible. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 20:20 Well, I think that many people perceive the Bible as negative towards disabled people. And I think that only serves to kind of reinforce the themes of exclusion from social activities. And that includes church because what they read in inviting scripture, I think that Deuteronomy has nothing to Deuteronomy 28 I think there’s consequences for being disobedient in there. The Lord’s gonna strike you with boils and tumours and scabs, and your striking with blindness and madness, and when you’re going to be exploited and oppressed, and then there’s more Leviticus, Leviticus is right, Leviticus 21 I think it is where, where no one with any form of disability can approach the altar, to offer sacrifice to glory to God, and in and that includes any disabled priest. And that’s because they they’re supposedly they have a defects and anything that goes to the otter has to be pure. And that, you know, these are Terrible. Terrible, they, you know, I’m saying Zechariah is another one. God appears to be holding leaders, particularly accountable for disabilities and other people. And just Isaiah, I’ve found this a failure to listen and see, and in those in that reading, those who are blind and deaf apparently fail to understand how to act. You know, it’s I can understand why people would be put off even bit by bit by followings. And we wanting to even read scripture because of these readings that we can we read? Yeah. Is it all negative? Mark?

Unknown Speaker 22:32 I think you know, I actually really do agree with Vanessa, you know, if you read and you take that at face value, you would see quite a lot of negativity, you would see people being punished for the, for the weaknesses of their forefathers for their own sin. If you read it like that, and you can read it like that. And I guess, To the untrained, you know, not the untrained, but the kind of someone who isn’t aware of other ways of interpreting of other ways of hermeneutics, I think. Yeah, you can. And I know when I do, I certainly read certain passages and most of the words that Vanessa’s just read, and they stick in my throat, it kind of hurts. I just think, especially that I think you mentioned the as a priest that I shouldn’t be going anywhere near the altar. Absolutely right. Which is interesting, though, because one of my massive garden moments, is actually when I am at the altar. And when I am the most holiest about I’m metallus to everybody. The first time I celebrated Holy Communion, as the celebrant, and I lifted up to the host in adoration that that moment of holiness, that central to the whole Eucharistic service. Then my stoma decided to make a massive noise and really big. Well, I’m just going to say excuse my language, a big fart, and there’s no other way of going around it. But it was. It was awful. It was really embarrassing. But at the same time, it was a moment where God spoke to me and said, Yeah, I’ve called you for who you are. So that that actually really contradicts that kind of moment in the Bible, where I’m told that I shouldn’t be even approaching the altar, let alone serving it. And I think people historically have used scripture to, to belittle on equal to misinform, how we think about disabilities, but thankfully, there is now a massive movement to change that and to reread some of these texts In light of liberation theology, but to reread these texts for other situations, now, that’s not just reading those into reading what we want into those texts, those historical texts. This is this is about, actually, let’s just take away those layers of stuff that other people have put on, shoved out the window. And let’s deal with those texts, as as they are, and see how they read to us. So I think we’ll go on to those in a little bit later on. When you look at them, again, in light of disability theology, I’m not sure that, you know, it is as discriminatory as we initially thought.

Unknown Speaker 25:42 I think also, a lot of it came down from the Greco Roman kind of influences of the purity of, of sacrificial sacrifices. And so which is why, you know, we had to have the young young lambs, we had to have a purist of animals, didn’t wait to be sacrificed on the altar. And actually, what we need to be thinking about is, we’re all made in God’s image. And this is about the larger day and we’re all made in God’s image. And what is what is that? What does that mean? So we’re thinking about what how we perceive God’s image to be and how does that reflect on us because we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image. So I think we have that as a starting point, since then, we can then start unpacking what that means in terms of our theology, and the liberation that comes from that.

Unknown Speaker 26:38 He was talking a bit about that liberation, and that that may be that releasing of some of these, these texts are very difficult to grapple with. And look at what the Bible says, kind of both about liberating us from some of those views, but also about healing. And until that redemption, because there is that an arc of redemption is in our in our new in our Bible, both in the Old and New Testament that that full arc of God. And there is in there, and there is healing there. Yeah, what does what does that look like for either of you? Or or for Ashleigh either? What does that look like? For you?

Unknown Speaker 27:12 as well? Again, because I think I miss, I might have missed the end of that question.

Unknown Speaker 27:26 What does so what does if we take the look at liberation and liberating, what does healing in the Bible look like? What does liberation from those those negative views look like for us? And what does the Bible say about healing and redemption and those kind of those good things, you know, in the Christian journey that that we can look at and see as being positive?

Unknown Speaker 27:45 I think for me, that there was something I read once that completely changed my entire when I was still very, I always call myself a baby Christian, when I was a baby Christian. And I was 18 when I was a baby. Something that actually helped me on that faith journey was seeing Jesus when he’d been raised from the dead, wasn’t physically healed, he still had his wounds. And that was a massive thing for me in my journey. Personally, I don’t know if that resonates at all with you guys. But yeah, that was it helped me come to terms with who I am. And accepting that I come with all those

Unknown Speaker 28:39 scars. And I think that is really what what liberation theology is saying, just because you’ve ever seen this book. I love Nancy Iceland’s work. I just love love it. It’s and she kind of she has this image of Jesus on the cross. He’s, he’s absolutely he is nailed there. Unknown Speaker 29:10 He can’t move.

Unknown Speaker 29:13 And then what happens? You know, he rises from the dead and he has this whole liberation. It’s it’s amazing image. And I think that Nancy Iceland talks about this a lot. She said, she see, she suggests this, that, that that whilst having a disability implies a punishment for our sins, sometimes in the Bible. It’s it also actually is is considered an impairment of God’s image. And so, if and that in turn then prevents those with disabilities, from seeking even leadership positions in our churches. Because they don’t feel they’re able to. But if you’ve got this image, then of this, this the liberation that comes from the Christ crucified, then that that then will it will lead people forward to think, yeah, okay. You know, I can we can we can do this, you know, I made an image of gods, and we can do this. And that it’s such a powerful method using it there is actually

Unknown Speaker 30:33 written out, see when I was when I was at university, and it kind of changed everything for me, especially the idea of dyslexia at that time. And then later on, I revisited the idea of a disabled God a little bit when things changed for me, personally. But she helped me through that, and that book, as a fabulous read, if anyone gets a chance. That’s a fabulous, it’s good text. But I think some of the things that you’ve all you’ve both mentioned there, I’m probably going to come back to. But I think what the Bible does, is helps us to, and certainly, the idea of Christ crucified God divine on the crops, it kind of makes us realise that what we understand our human assumptions about fixing the broken bodies and making things normal, and actually, it’s beyond all of that regard, I don’t know whether we can comprehend it. So we look at some of the texts in the Bible. I think we kind of put our human thoughts on it. And I’m not sure that’s where God is. So for instance, Moses was massive for me the story of Moses. And he kind of turned around in me and just said, No, I’m sorry, I can’t do all that. And I’ve read it as I’m dyslexic, I can’t do that. I’ve got this stuff, you know, that kind of, you know, I can’t lead your people. That’s not my calling. Now, God didn’t. God, God didn’t try and heal him. And God didn’t. Just he just said, Get on with the job, basically. And I think some of the things that I want, that I wanted to pick up from, from both things actually said, was this idea this difference between healing and cure? I think, when you were thinking about this idea of healing cure, I think there is a difference. And I think God that we can get to different things when we reread texts. Maybe I should come on to that later on. I don’t know.

Unknown Speaker 32:52 I think I think that the the matter of disability and liberation theology is fixed with the social model, doesn’t it we’ve been talking about because it works great works collaboratively with it, because with all these principles of human rights, and dignity and respect, that comes with that freedom, and that sort of empowerment adji

Unknown Speaker 33:20 I think that’s really different, isn’t it? That that is that is in itself a sense of healing, but it’s, it’s not necessarily a good thing. And when, when I think often about the Bible, and kind of this kind of story, I always come to Corinthians 12. And that, that Paul’s saying, you know, you’re God’s grace is sufficient enough for him, that he goes to God has been asked for healing. God doesn’t that we don’t know what the healing for but God doesn’t, doesn’t heal. But actually, in that he acknowledges that God’s grace is sufficient. And it’s through his weakness that he is able to minister to others. And, you know, that’s there in the Bible. Yeah, often our churches, we don’t see it, because we see these people who are very able bodied, and, you know, seem to from the front look like this perfect image. And it’s hard to look at them and say, Can I do that? Can I make the chancel steps if I’ve, if I can’t walk? those kind of questions are really powerful. And yet when we look at a Bible, we see that the who these leaders who God raised up quick and enabled and left as they you know, enable them because of who they were. Because they were the people that that that that God goes to you because their hearts revitalise their hearts.

Unknown Speaker 34:42 Yes, but there are also some some very positive images of disabled people in in Scripture as well. So in Genesis 1:27, were all made in God’s image. We’ve already talked about that. And in job God, God searches eyes for the blind and feet for the lane. Being an advocate. He was actually an advocate advocating for for those with disabilities. Samuel 16, the Lord doesn’t judge by appearance, and some to summon nine there is a place at the Kings table for mudfish I can’t even name never say this with his method possess business, and the disabled son of Jonathan. And the grandson of saw he was, and in Psalm 139, for God’s essence is within the creation of every person, for we’re all fearfully wonderful men wonderfully made. And Luke 14, those with disabilities were invited to the banquet for God’s kingdom is not complete with is not complete without them.

Unknown Speaker 35:42 That’s the thing as a community as a, as a Christian society, we’re quick to jump to that healing. And I don’t know if that’s something to do with us in the we want to be doing something. And so if we jump to healing, and we’re fixating on that means that we’re we’re doing something we’re working towards something as if we need to, we need an end goal. And God is saying that it doesn’t need.

Unknown Speaker 36:16 Sorry, the only healing that I see that in the Bible is only one type. And that is healing with our relationship with God. That’s that’s the only type of healing that God or Jesus offers you. He wants us to be healed to be part of his family again.

Unknown Speaker 36:35 Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 36:35 I think maybe what we’re trying to do, is the other thing that Jesus Himself does do, but for a different reason, I think we think is, we’re trying to cure people. We’re and that’s not our remit. That’s not where we’re where to come in here at all. I think there’s a difference between curing people and healing. God is trying to heal all of us. And that story, that healing story is right through the Bible. That this this this healing edit the cure is what we’re trying, we sometimes fixate on, when people go up for prayer. I wonder, who’s actually thinking they’re going for healing? Who thinks they’re going for cure? And for the person offering the prayer? Are they correctly praying for healing? Or are they trying to cure cure the person in front of them? And I think there’s that difference. And it’s important to make that distinction. I don’t know what you think about that.

Unknown Speaker 37:32 That’s really helpful to me, because I think it’s really easy. It makes it helps me that distinction between what the to me and

Unknown Speaker 37:42 I also think that if we look at the Christology and we interpret the healing narratives as a proposition of a social model, which I guess is what, what we’re saying, isn’t it that they, and they said to wear evidence that Christ is trying to change attitudes, which is what we started with here didn’t worry about this. This is this is a lot about people’s attitudes, and opinions, certainly, and I think inclusion is at the heart of Jesus ministry. Which doesn’t necessarily mean making disabled people non disabled. Because in the gospels, Jesus ministry is distorted, both to family and community and to and to God. And

Unknown Speaker 38:37 some disabled people, whether they want to be cured, or whether they want to be normalised whether we want to be changed in this world, or the next, it’s a completely different bag. So somebody offered me something else, I think I’d probably take it. But that wasn’t the case. At one point, I was like, Oh, this is me, this is this is who I am, this is and that slightly change, but you put me next to it, the next person and the next person, and they’re all gonna come up with different answers. In fact, I’m probably going to be receiving hate mail now for even suggesting that I would quite happily be, but they don’t know what I’m going through. And I’m happy to get rid of that moment’s notice. So it kind of Yeah, I think healing is important that we can’t assume that that’s what people want. And a cure. We can’t assume that that’s what people want. For some people that’s part of their God given talents that God given gifts, and how God calls them. And sometimes sometimes, I’m convinced that that for me, this is part of who God has called me to be. With a stoma right now that makes a very big noise. Why? Because it’s made me have conversations with people that I wouldn’t have had before. Before, and, and through my poor health, everything that’s gone on before that as well, which is slightly different. But again, God’s use those moments. So I don’t know, I think that’s really helpful. It kind of moves in to the final question, because there’s such distinction between each individual and a different approach is that I wonder if difficulty is an inevitable part of the human condition, then disability is also going to be a part of our churches, it’s going to be inevitably part of our church community, and, and what we can do to support those within our communities, on their faith journeys, actually, what can we do not just not just I mean, all, athletes training to be a vicar and the three of us are all ordained, but not just as leaders, how can we in the pews, help others in our communities on our faith journeys? What are helpful things to do?

Unknown Speaker 2:44 To enable others to be included to see that christological vision of the kingdom of God being being inclusive to all

Unknown Speaker 2:55 this is about valuing and belonging, isn’t it feeling valued? We are values and, and belonging, and

Unknown Speaker 3:04 think the church is called to be a place where people Oh, you know, this is this is what what Christ is teaching us that everybody is valued, and they belong. And I think that whilst I think it was John Swinton, he said, whilst human rights are vital, and guarantee inclusion for people with disabilities, they don’t guarantee belonging.

Unknown Speaker 3:28 And so again, this is about the attitude isn’t it? So I think we need to be encouraging people to for opportunities for for participation in the ways that work for them.

Unknown Speaker 3:41 And so, you know, when I’m doing my accessibility audits, now I give them notice and I say, right, I want you to please bring bring you bring people with you, and we’ll go around the church together. And they can share with what they’ve the things that they find difficult the things they would like to do, and how and then we can talk about how we might enable that to happen. So having conversations really important, and you know, you can talk you know, in from the pulpit about you know, please we want to be listening to you want to have conversation with you if there’s any way that we can be working together because we want to enable

Unknown Speaker 4:22 others Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 4:32 Fully work

Unknown Speaker 4:42 as much as they want to do is to have the conversation you know, get have an interpreter to happen and, and enable those conversations in the way that people can have those conversations. And that might be through eating, different language. It might be from use pictures it might be through having

Unknown Speaker 5:00 Without going around the church together and and just talking

Unknown Speaker 5:06 and listening, I think

Unknown Speaker 5:09 providing accessible materials and getting you’ve done, you’ve got the course actually, haven’t you just

Unknown Speaker 5:17 see, oh God, of course a

Unknown Speaker 5:20 neighbouring church called COVID in my

Unknown Speaker 5:25 Yeah, it

Unknown Speaker 5:27 is

Unknown Speaker 5:30 not sincere about it. And one of the other things that I think it was who said is thing.

Unknown Speaker 5:39 And again, he said,

Unknown Speaker 5:42 worship could become a little bit chaotic. And a little bit, you know, because you’re going to try to, to enable all people with with everyone and so it could be it will be it might be, seem messy, like to call it, but actually, that’s fabulous. And I remember when Archdeacon Ian came to our celebration of different abilities service in the cathedral few years ago, he said back Didn’t he Mark, Mark, in said to this is one of the most chaotic services.

Unknown Speaker 6:19 But he just loved it. Because everybody was participating. They were truly worshipping in the way that they felt able to do and it was, it was just fun.

Unknown Speaker 6:32 You, man.

Unknown Speaker 6:34 That’s amazing. I think one of the things might be helpful for people, especially within Chester diocese, where where you where you work, is to know how to contact you about kind of some of those ideas, but also about maybe, especially the audits that you that you offer churches. So maybe you could talk a little bit more about the audit, and how people contact you. That’d be really helpful. Yeah, okay, you can contact me through going on the website, but it’s, it’s vanessa.layfield@chester.anglican.org

Unknown Speaker 7:09 And you can so you can email me, or ask somebody else to help you to email me your

Unknown Speaker 7:22 number. And so it is 07984318885. So they confirm that if they would like to read to do that, but there’s a fabulous book,

Unknown Speaker 7:39 widening the eye of the needle. And if you’re in if anybody wants to do anything with DC, or anything, this is this year, it has absolutely everything in here, even down to how you can, you know, your building, and things like that, that you need to do. But there’s a very simple form on the website, which has the accessibility audit on is a very quick one to do. And it’s it’s not just about ramps. And, you know, I’ve heard so many people say, Well, we don’t need around because we don’t have any wheelchair users. Good to say you might get the wheelchairs.

Unknown Speaker 8:20 But that’s, you know, that’s, that’s

Unknown Speaker 8:23 Oh, yeah. But it covers lots of things that worship space, the hearing loop, the signage, the fonts and, and

Unknown Speaker 8:35 we’ve simple things that we wouldn’t even think of, you know, speaking from the lectern, make sure that your people can see your lips.

Unknown Speaker 8:45 Because those that are liberating need to be able to say,

Unknown Speaker 8:53 yeah, shadows, lighting.

Unknown Speaker 8:57 People don’t generally think about these things. But yeah, so you can get these in this in this information on the on the websites, and, and the book, and I’m happy to come out, but please involve your congregations in in doing your audits with you.

Unknown Speaker 9:15 And, yeah, that’s really important that you can, I think, just to pick up on that last point of Vanessa’s that, get the congregation to do the audit with you.

Unknown Speaker 9:27 I think the key to all of this, no matter whether you’re a church leader, or whether you’re going into a church for the very first time, is actually to build relationships and to have conversations.

Unknown Speaker 9:41 And you will, if you go up to your Vicar

Unknown Speaker 9:46 or priest, or minister or whoever, they are trained in how to listen. So you can tell them stuff and they will listen that’s their job. It’s what they are or not paid for but that’s the

Unknown Speaker 10:00 job. So don’t feel embarrassed about talking about what is it that can make it this space more accessible for you? Yep. Because as Vanessa said, it’s not about just about ramps and loop systems. But actually they’re really important because quite rightly, if we have them in place, then people might think, Oh, great, the church is opening his arms to me, please let me go. But there’s other things as well, you know, for the neurodivergent, to think about overstimulating and all that kind of stuff. But you need to tell people because you can put two Dyslexics in a row, and we will be different. You can put, you know, we’re all going to be different. So you need to talk, that will be the top tip. There was there, I remember when

Unknown Speaker 10:50 there was a lady on our street who didn’t seem to go any interesting coming to check. And we held a street party and I got chatting to her. And I found out that she used to come to church. So I said, Oh, I’d love to come on and have a cup of tea and said, How could you bring me home communion? I said, of course, I’d love to. And it took him communion, too. And I started chatting to her. And when we got down to the reason she couldn’t come to church, it was she couldn’t find any wesc to sit comfortably. That the pews we had, she couldn’t sit on, because they were just they were too uncomfortable for her. And because of the way the way of Adi was that it just she couldn’t sit for that length of time. But from that conversation, that no one knew about that she just didn’t do the door. And we’ve not seen it. I’m not saying over 1015 years.

Unknown Speaker 11:40 Yeah, having conversations is a really good place to that is key. But then also, some people don’t want to know if there’s if there’s not a chair available to sit in. And they don’t want to be able to say actually, can I have another chair? Please make a different kind of chair? Or do they? And so about thinking about those things before? So maybe there is a chair available that has arms that they could they might be okay might struggle to be lifting themselves up or something. So having an arm chair, there are a couple of answers there might sort of avoid that.

Unknown Speaker 12:20 situation because some people are afraid to talk to me, they don’t want to so be mindful of that as well.

Unknown Speaker 12:27 It’s difficult, but it’s definitely communication. Definitely communication agrees is the key use cases. I think don’t pick up on something that Vanessa said was some people don’t even know what they need either. They might not realise what is that is the problem.

Unknown Speaker 12:45 And my need someone to help them work out what that actually is.

Unknown Speaker 12:51 We had a lady in church who had dementia, and she had no clue. I don’t think what her needs were

Unknown Speaker 12:59 at that time, and I think it was up to us to to help. Not only her but those who were struggling with parts of her symptoms from the dementia on how we could as a church support her. Yeah. And that’s where we talking to family members as well comes into that talking to the carers comes into that too, doesn’t it?

Unknown Speaker 13:22 Those people that that know, people with dementia, you know when

Unknown Speaker 13:32 to say and be their advocates.

Unknown Speaker 13:35 I think it’s important.

Unknown Speaker 13:37 Our joy, though, is not a pleasure to welcome people on Christ’s behalf. Isn’t that to go that kind of extra mile and to find out and to do that? And that’s not a joy of ministry as well.

Unknown Speaker 13:50 Fabulous? That’s kind of inviting people to heavenly Vanquis. And that really, I don’t know.

Unknown Speaker 13:57 If it means that an extra chair for someone

Unknown Speaker 14:02 moving the altar down a lot.

Unknown Speaker 14:05 Believe me, I think

Unknown Speaker 14:09 that’s so helpful. We put a plug in for our online disability service coming up. haven’t read that yet because you can go

Unknown Speaker 14:19 online disability service that Marc’s working really hard on. We’ve got lots of people coming on that then it’s all going to be pre recorded this year. And so hopefully that will hopefully it will be

Unknown Speaker 14:33 online on the 12th of September, a Disability Awareness Day was moved from July to September because of COVID.

Unknown Speaker 14:43 We would have held a service in church I think we were going which church was able to get over to Stockport somewhere I think like this time.

Unknown Speaker 14:52 And so so but it’s gonna be online and this time, and then next year. Hopefully we’ll be able to

Unknown Speaker 15:00 Have this service in a church again.

Unknown Speaker 15:04 As we celebrate difference, and you’re welcome, welcome. Lovely. Will that be on the Chester diocesan website? for people to watch? Yes, yes. Yeah. 12th of September, great. I will I’ll obligate within the parish. But also people now hopefully can watch it.

Unknown Speaker 15:25 Do you have any? You know, thank you so much for your time this evening. Do you have any last words of wisdom that you would like to impart maybe not always experienced?

Unknown Speaker 15:44 Think it is about being able to encourage people to worship in ways that work for them, and trying to have communication with them? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 15:57 You know, I think that

Unknown Speaker 16:00 we’ve got to extend out that’s that’s what we need to do as Christians and

Unknown Speaker 16:24 outdoors.

Unknown Speaker 16:27 Yeah, was Mark’s actually, he’s our Vice Chair, but he didn’t prefer the disability for when he didn’t own up to that issue, Mark.

Unknown Speaker 16:40 So So my final piece of wisdom and piece of advice, if you are watching down the end of this TV screen, just know this, God loves you with all your broken bits, you all the bits that don’t quite work with all events that have fallen off with all the bits that make you laugh and smile and cry. God loves all those bits. And you’re welcome in church when the church gets it wrong. forgivers. I will try a better, and we’ll try better next time. Yeah, that that is an amazing point. And I don’t think we can we can say it better than that. So thank you both, for these amazing completion, the chance to share share with us.

Unknown Speaker 17:32 Well, that was a wonderful conversation, wasn’t it?

Unknown Speaker 17:36 It really was it really useful as well.

Unknown Speaker 17:39 I love the fact that both monastrell Mark can talk so passionately and with so much knowledge about about those kind of this area, really, I learned so much jewels from listening to them in part of the conversation. I mean, for me, I think that’s really that is a really key point. It’s actually listening to others, enabling them to come into the conversation. I love that that Vanessa talked about using different ways to do that, whether it be speaking whether you be using interpreters or pictures, to actually bring people into the conversation with us. To not to not to argue but actually to listen to how other people have experienced in what churches like for them. And to be bold enough to ask the questions, and be willing to listen and hear either feedbacks a bit difficult. Or just that that’ll stay with me for a while and really challenged me in my ministry.

Unknown Speaker 18:33 Yeah, and being able to be ready to do something about what you hear, as well, if it’s possible. Yeah. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 18:43 I think for me,

Unknown Speaker 18:45 the most interesting bit was that distinction between healing and cure.

Unknown Speaker 18:53 And how there is a big distinction between the two. And what that means. And that what that can mean for us in our ministry. Yeah, we so we so readily jumped to the idea of curing dopey and I think the language we use that it’s just it, it’s quite a fine line. But if you can get it right, I think it’s really helpful for people. Yeah, it’s a real nuanced, isn’t it and really, really easy for one for healing to slip into that curing whereas that healing is about your relationship with God. Yeah. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 19:29 So what’s up next Rob podcast? Actually, we’re not quite finished with this series are we

Unknown Speaker 19:35 know we’ve got one more episode after this? I think, yeah, we have. We’ve got another guest and the Dr. Julian strain, who is

Unknown Speaker 19:47 the head of St. Raphael healing ministries, and based in London, she has such a fascinating story of both healing in her personal life, but also the experience she brings from her work. I think she’s gonna

Unknown Speaker 20:00 Talk about go hate healthy community or go healing communities and on the podcast readers next time. So where can people find that podcast when it’s ready?

Unknown Speaker 20:12 That podcast will be on most streaming platforms, it should be on Spotify on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts.

Unknown Speaker 20:22 And they should also be able to find it on our website. But if anyone doesn’t have access to any of those, they can email at us at journeyingfaithfully@gmail.com. And we will be able to send that out to them. Yeah, we’ll put it on YouTube as well. So we’ll hopefully film The comment on YouTube as

Unknown Speaker 20:42 you listen to. And, and they can use that email address really to contact us about anything. So they’ve got ideas, or they want to say hello, they can contact us and say hello whenever they want gone. They so Oh, definitely journey. And we also have a Facebook page as well. Do we can we post on more? Yeah, Jenny is agitating faithfully on Facebook. And

Unknown Speaker 21:09 yeah, being able to hear from other people, other people’s stories is really important to us. And we’d love to hear from you. So if you want to drop us an email or message on Facebook, yeah, we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear what you what what was really important to you from this episode, actually, as well. So we’d love to hear your experiences of disability in the church and kind of what’s important to you in this conversation. And these podcasts are meant to be conversations that you can get involved with. Please do talk to us about if you see us in person or talk to us online as well.

Unknown Speaker 21:45 Thank you all for watching

Unknown Speaker 21:48 and we will see you soon.

Unknown Speaker 21:52 See you soon.

Healing and Eucharist: Series 1, Episode 4

Show Notes:

The Eucharist is an integral part of our churches, especially in the Church of England, but what can it mean to our faith and can we receive healing from it? In this episode Ashleigh and Josh will explore what the Eucharist is as well as how the Eucharist has developed their faith. Healing from the Eucharist is a massive part of the journey and we explore that too. 

The following references were referred to in this podcast episode:

Christopher Gower (2007), Sacraments of Healing

Church of England Wholeness and Healing: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/wholeness-and-healing/wholeness-and

Cody Carnes and Brandon Lake (2021): Too Good to Not Believe

Fr. Joseph Levine: https://stpeterstd.org/eucharistic-discipleship-receiving-healing-part-4/

Mark Earey (2018), Liturgical Worship

Norbury Church: https://www.norburychurch.com

St. Mary and St. Helen’s Neston: https://www.nestonparishchurch.org/index.asp?pageid=359287

Steven Bruns: https://www.seedbed.com/holy-communion-serves-discipleship/

Transcript:

0:27 Hello, and welcome to this episode of the journey and faithfully podcast series. I’m Josh. And I’m Ashleigh. And it’s lovely to have you with us wherever you’re listening to this podcast. We know that some of you listen at home. We’ve also had some people listen while cleaning churches, that was an odd one.

0:48 But however you have founders and are listening to this, it is lovely to have you with us. But we’d love you to become a part of our community. Now actually, how could people become a part of our community? We have a Facebook group page called @journeyfaithfullypodcast that they could join and hopefully comment and talk to us through that. Or they can explore our website, which is journeyfaithfully.com.

1:16 And what exactly are we talking about today? Well, in this episode, we are delving deeper into what is the Eucharist? And we’re gonna explore how that connects to both healing into our faith. That is sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Should we dive right in? Yeah.

1:39 Before we look into the Eucharist, specifically, though, I think it’s really important to think about holy wholeness and healing in our scriptures, because obviously, it all starts with our scriptures. So when it comes to sacrament, there isn’t just one sacrament, and there are a number, I think, the two most important are probably baptism and Eucharist. And at baptism, we witness God’s gift of salvation. We witness people gathered into the new creation, which is Jesus Christ and baptism pointers towards Christ. And it’s a sign of an individual and corporate forgiveness, and a renewal of people. And I think with the incarnation of Jesus, God begins the renewal of our alien, native weakened and fragmented human condition. We see that kind of in Romans eight, three, and four. And in Matthew’s Gospel. In Matthew three, Jesus baptism expresses solidarity, his solidarity with others in our weakness, and his healing ministry is seen as the outworking of the suffering servant, who took our infirmities and bore our diseases, Matthew 8:17. So it’s apparent in scriptures that the physical, emotional, social and spiritual well being of human beings are closely interconnected, that Christ’s work of reconciliation extends beyond the purely personal and relational to the social order and the whole of creation. The Gospel uses the term healing, both for physical healing and for the broader salvation that Jesus brings. And the common New Testament term for sickness is weakness. It carries broad associations of powerlessness, and vulnerability, including human vulnerability in the face of the dominion of sin and death. As Christians, we all face weakness.

3:48 We receive God’s grace expressed sometimes in an experience of healing, and sometimes through the strength that comes in the bearing of weakness.

3:58 So we have in our gospels, the Christ who recognises and is, he has solidarity with us in our weakness. I think that’s really important to look at before we delve into any form of healing surveys, becomes really important to identify that our weaknesses, identified it with Christ.

4:22 And the Christ body, when he was resurrected was not healed in the way we imagined. And therefore, some healing will not happen. And we’ll look at that in a future podcast episode. But for today, it’s just really important that healing reconciliation and restoration are integral to the good news of Jesus Christ, and they’re located in Christ mission. For this reason, we pray for individuals, sometimes to laying on hands are anointing with oils, in public prayer as a real really important part in our faith.

4:55 Because it’s God’s gracious activity of healing that is seen both as part of the practice

5:00 The Good News of our gospel and as an outworking of the presence of the spirit in the life of the church.

5:09 We need to be obviously sensitive. And we’ll talk about more like that at the end with our prayer. But I do think is really important to locate it in our gospel, both through our baptism to Christ, and then in our healing in the Gospel, and how we then use that in healing eucharists.

5:26 But actually, tonight, we’re looking at the Eucharist and healing. So

5:32 that’s a very interesting question. And thank you for everything you’ve just said. Stephen Bruns from seedbed writes, that for the early Christians, Eucharist was the main form of discipleship and was the climax of every service that they celebrated. And I loved the way he broke that down that the service was always leading up to the Eucharist. The people were being raised up to the throne of God in heaven, their prayers, focus them on God petitioning God, to create the kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven. There was a reading of Scripture, and expounding upon it showed how God has been acting throughout history, to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus Christ, and how Christ was still present in the world, through the church, his body. And as that climax came to the end in the Eucharist, the people have been ascending in heaven, ascending to heaven, heaven comes down to the Holy Spirit, Eucharist is the bread and wine so that the people in Christ actually receive Christ. And it’s in Holy Communion, where heaven and earth me thought this was just a beautiful way to help us see the Eucharist service. But I think for some people, they may be struggling here, because there’s a couple of terms that keep coming up Eucharist in communion, and I was wanting to just continue just what what do they mean? Are they the same thing? What, what can people learn about these two terms? And what are your thoughts on what I’ve how I’ve just described the press,

7:14 I think what you have said is beautiful. It’s a really beautiful way to describe Eucharistic worship

7:21 in the Bible. And in the early church. There are two different types of worship going on, I think it’s really important to distinguish between them. So there was the fellowship meal, which later develops into the Eucharist, which we’re talking about Holy Communion, we’re talking about it tonight. And then there would gatherings that were focused on prayers, and the reading of Scripture. So if you look at one Corinthians 14:26, for example, it reads when you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongues, an interpretation, that all things be done for building up. So this is kind of the former sort of worship, it’s kind of the gathering focused on prayer, and equipping of building the Christian community. Whereas the latter is that the fellowship meal is what develops into our Eucharist Christian, the communion that we have today.

8:16 So the early Christians would have you used the word, the Lord’s Supper. And in the early church, this seems to have developed our whole range of associations between Jesus eating and drinking and sharing bread and wine with other people. So we have Jesus’s meal with saints and sinners, is an integral part of Jesus ministry. Think about the banquet given with Levi the tax collector in Luke 5:27-38, or

8:48 with Mary and Martha and Lazarus in john 12:1-3. What the home of Simon who is a leper in Matthew 26:6-13, or having tea with Zacchaeus, in Luke 19, one to 10, I love that story, something to do with me being small, maybe I love that that story. But then we’ve got Jesus teaching about the heavenly banquet, and the picture of the kingdom of God, the feast, or wedding banquet, which is part of Jesus teaching, and Matthew 8:11-22. There’s loads of examples of that, all the miraculous feedings, so the feedings of the 5000s and the story of Jesus breaking bread and giving it to many loaves and fishes, or the resurrection meals. So several of Jesus’s post resurrection appearances, are accompanied by eating things like the breakfast of fish and bread by the lake in john 21, or the meal with the two disciples that amaze during which Jesus is revealed them only by the breaking of the bread in Luke 24.

9:54 Or the appearance in the upper room when Jesus eats in front of all the disciples in Luke 24 again,

10:00 Then we come to the Last Supper and the Passover.

10:04 So whether the Last Supper was an actual Passover meal or not, it clearly took place in the context of the Passover season, in which the Jews were used to the idea of food being used in a powerfully symbolic way.

10:18 And yet Jesus chose not to give new meaning to the lamp of the Passover, or the bitter Herbes, but to use the more ordinary elements of bread and why, which are part of the normal meal.

10:31 So that’s kind of some of the biblical places where we come from when we look at Eucharist, and communion. But then we have the super corpse of the first century, the that actually many people in the Jewish culture would have gathered together for supper for the Lord’s Supper, we see that in one Corinthians 11.

10:53 So all of this kind of gathers together for the context, that may mean that we food was really important, the early church, that meals were really important. And whether we use the word the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, or Holy Communion doesn’t really matter. They all kind of symbolised the same thing. They all come back to this biblical example of Jesus breaking bread, and sharing it with those around him that a fellowship meal a meal or fellowship. Now we formalise that and made it look a certain way. But it all comes back to the sharing of bread and wine with fellow Christians. Does that make sense? I think it does. I think what you’re basically saying is that everything, they they are the same thing. Yeah. And I think a helpful way to maybe break it down is that communion is almost like a verb, isn’t it? That it’s the doing part of it. And whereas the Eucharist is more of a noun, that’s the person of Jesus. Yeah. And I remember there was, I mean, a lot of what I’ve just kind of explained comes from Mark Earey, he’s a liturgy professor at Queens College, Birmingham. And I remember we sat through a lecture about him once and he asked the class of ordinands, who calls their service Eucharist and who calls it Holy Communion, the room was almost split, there was one or two odd people whose churches called The Last Supper, but most people either call the Eucharist or Holy Communion, he was very much saying, well, it’s kind of the same word really. And it just became popular in in Church of England churches at different times. I think that’s just a really confusing thing, isn’t it for people who may be new to church and don’t understand these terms? So I think that leads us really nicely into our next question of what does Eucharist mean to you or to us? And so john, to go fast, Josh, I think that fellowship element is really important isn’t the breaking bread together, it is joining in an act of worship together, whether we believe it’s Jesus incarnate in the bread and wine, or whether we believe it’s Jesus in the congregation that two different views, whether we think is a mystery of what’s going on, or we think it’s just a remembrance of what Jesus did whatever we believe. There’s a significant time of fellowship, where we come together as Christians, and celebrate and remember what Jesus did for us and what Jesus can offer us. And I think that’s why it’s linked so powerful and can be linked so powerfully to healing. Because actually, as I talked about, at the beginning, healing in Jesus ministry, a link just does not just communion Jesus ministry are linked. So that for me is really important that coming together and celebrating and remembering God, but I will do it with others. I don’t really like doing it with my own. I need others to be in fellowship with as it were. What about you actually, what does the priest mean to you? And he’s a really interesting question, because if you’d asked me when I first came to church, I didn’t like it. It was something that was incredibly ritualistic. I didn’t understand it. It had no meaning to me.

14:27 And it was just a really confusing concept. Not only did it come with its own confusing words, in terms of robes as well, and different churches have different traditions on robes, don’t they? They do and you have to stand up and you have to sit down at certain point and everyone else needs to know what was going on. And then it was like this thing of it was almost like a dance that I didn’t quite healthy that moves to and I can’t actually tell you the moment it changed for me, it almost was a gradual thing. The Amiga

15:00 In part because I learned the moves, and felt more comfortable. But there was a moment where it’s similar to what you said, because I think you put it so beautifully about the fellowship. And I saw it is almost like this walk being at one and being at one not only with God, but being one with those around me, my community, all in one moment, it. I think that’s what’s been really hard about the pandemic. Because for many people, especially when church doors are locked, we couldn’t gather for fellowship, we couldn’t celebrate communion. So you know, we ignore, but we chose not to celebrate communion. While we couldn’t do it together, so that there was that moment, we could gather our fellow Christians and break bread together. And that, for me, was really powerful. I mean, I think I think there was a tear in my eye when I celebrate communion for the first time with all those people, my you know, all our friends together, that was really important. Or there is a real healing element to that, because there was a restoration, we felt restored to God when we received and that must be hard for those who have yet been able to come to church for whatever reason. I yeah, definitely, I think, and we don’t want to ostracise. So I think the what I was trying to say them was, I got off on a tangent, but just like the pandemic has ostracised, some people away from church, so to keep our traditions or rituals that we have, they can ostracise people from the Eucharist because they don’t quite know what’s going on. And I think then we lose the power of what’s going on, because we make it to ritualistic. Yeah, and I think it is a question I want to move on to in a little bit of what can we do about that? Or how can we change that in some respect? But before we do that, I think you’ve answered this a little bit. But do you think the Eucharist has a healing? potential? Absolutely. Absolutely. I think you know, wherever we celebrate Jesus, we celebrate that restoration. And, you know, when we look at kind of some of the language that we can use when it comes to Communion, that language itself is restorative. So

17:10 one of the most important healing texts in the Roman mass. And also in some Anglicans, right, is the prayer said in response to the invitation to Communion, in which we are in some way, replicating the healing faith of the centaurian. In in Matthew, a nurse comes to Jesus and wants his daughter to be healed doesn’t mean and II think the daughter is dying, and actually says, Lord, I am not worthy to receive you. But only say the word and I shall be healed. And how powerful is that? It’s so powerful that I bet he also got that reason now. It’s just one of those that actually we come on we say, Lord, I’m not worthy. But only say the word and I shall be healed. And as we celebrate communion, that’s what we’re doing. We’re restoring ourselves back to God we’re saying Do you know what Monday I made a mistake Tuesday and a messed up Wednesday I thought I’ve got it right and then at nine o’clock at around my wife and realised that that was a failed day. Thursday thoughts rational thought Friday did something silly. Saturday, I still didn’t get it right. But Sunday I come back and God if, if you say the word you can heal me, you can restore my relationship with you. And that’s not the only place where there’s reference to kind of healing in common worship in our Eucharistic rites.

18:37 There’s so many different ways I mean, some of the introductory prayer to the prayer of penitence, for example, you can say, Lord Jesus, you heal the sick. Lord have mercy. Lord Jesus, you forgive sinners, Christ have mercy. Lord Jesus, you give yourself to heal us. I’m being a strength, Lord have mercy. So even in our confession and our prayers of penitence, we can come to God acknowledging his sin. And then, you know, in, in in the Eucharistic prayer, you’re the one prayer F, we have this intercession, Lord, which, with look with a run your people and in your mercy, hear the cry of our hearts, bless the earth, heal the sick, let oppressed go free and fill your church with powerful man. So the language we use, even suggests that the Eucharist has healing potential. But beyond that, it has this reconciling ability that reconciles to God. And that I think, is the ultimate healing actually to be reconciled to God and brought back into God’s presence. And when we look at healing in the gospels, that’s kind of what Jesus is doing. He’s reconciling people. Back to God. What do you think, though? Well, I think that’s shown massively in john six, where Jesus said, very truly I tell you, unless you need the flow of flesh of the sort of man and drink

20:00 Could you have no life in you, whoever eats my flesh and drinks, my blood has eternal life. And I will raise him up at the last day, for my flesh is real food. And my blood is real drink, whoever eats my flesh and drinks, my blood remains in me and I in them. And I just loved that reconciliation between you, and, and Jesus, and that healing potential that is in there. And St. Iranaeus puts it beautifully in the Eucharist is a medication for the soul. And I think that’s, it’s so easy to see healing as this magical physical healing. Every time when we hear healing, we automatically jump to

20:49 a physical healing. And we forget that actually, there are so many different types of healing, and that the Eucharist

20:59 can have that is that medication for the soul? And I think that’s just a beautiful way to put it. Yes.

21:07 And I think I was going to jump ahead a little bit. And Unknown

21:12 I was wondering what kind of related healing we can expect from the Eucharist? And you’ve touched on that in that reconciliation and that relationship style?

21:23 But is this when you talk about that relationship? Is this about relationship with just God? Or is this a potential healing between ourselves and others? Or maybe even fair just ourselves? I think it can be reconciled. conciliation between others? Definitely.

21:43 I’ve seen you, Chris, where people can come together. I mean, think about when two people have communion. At their wedding.

21:55 Yes, they’re being reconciled to God at that moment, but they’re also reconciling themselves to each other, they’re becoming one and knitting themselves together in that relationship with God. And there must be some reconciliation between themselves and that moment, some, some healing of of hurts. And, you know, that, that have happened. And also we can, you know, often we don’t know why people are coming for healing it ups, we don’t know what they’re asking for. So there must be some internal healing going on there. Or, and, you know, I would hazard a guess as to what people come to the healing for, but you could for healing for but there must be reasons and times when God heals others, what do you think, I think something that keeps coming to mind is, Hey, I have just have this image. I don’t know why it’s coming to mind. Now. It’s just is there barely in front of my eyes, I’m gonna tell you. But basically, it’s this image of two people on opposing sides, both kneeling down for communion at exactly the same time. And both receiving.

23:03 And I’m not saying that that riff has been permanently healed, but for a moment,

23:10 they are at one. And I think there is a little bit of healing within that. That doesn’t mean it’s permanent. And that pain and hurt isn’t combat, per se. But

23:23 there is the potential that that is the catalyst to draw those two sides together. And

23:30 I think we as a church could really do with some of that right now in that that healing potential that the Eucharist could offer.

23:38 But I think it’s really easy to polarise ourselves at the moment, and forget that we all need healing.

23:47 I would love to push us maybe. And I’ve been pondering this while we’ve done this series, actually, to not necessarily talk about healing, but talk about restoration. Because sometimes we can have restoration without being healed. You know, our relationship with God can be restored, even if we’re not healed. And our restoration, we can we can have relationships restored with family members, but maybe that hurt still be there. And we both experienced that in some, in some ways, I think I put it is you have a scar. And

24:26 that scar doesn’t necessarily ever go away. It can dim it can fade. But it can still also be as prominent as the day it was made. And

24:39 that that’s always going to be there. Like it’s not gonna suddenly per se magically disappear.

24:47 That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t healed. And I think that’s really important. But you you asked the question, I think, what kind of healing could we expect from the Eucharist and obviously

25:00 We’ve talked a bit about reconciliation relationship. Well, there is physical healing as well. I was thinking back to

25:07 a song I’ve been listening to by Bethel music, which is called too good. Not too good to not believe by Cody Carnes.

25:17 And if you haven’t listened to it, I really would go and listen to it part of the song but partway through and the whole song is about God being a wonder working God a miracle maker. partway through it says, and I’ve seen cancer disappear. I’ve seen metal plates dissolves. Don’t you tell me he can’t do it? Because I’ve seen real life resurrection. I’ve seen mental health restored. Don’t you tell me he can’t do it. Because I’ve seen families reunited, I’ve seen product goals returned. You know, healing is so diverse. Well, there is physical healing. And, you know, we have seen physical healing happen. So that can happen at Eucharist, there can be miraculous moment. And we should never dismiss remote miraculous moments we never should never dismiss god i think is Anglicans. Were very quick to dismiss the Holy Spirit’s work and say, Oh, well, the definitely relational healing. Well, there isn’t necessarily physical healing. I don’t think in that you can also have mental healing. Yeah.

26:23 That probably really is especially needed right now, in a world where we have had a pandemic. And people have

26:33 probably gone to some quite dark places in the last 18 months.

26:38 And the Eucharist can have a massive effect to potentially heal some of those people.

26:44 Yeah. So we’ve talked obviously a lot about the youth wrists today. And obviously, we’re thinking about the importance of that in in healing, and I get that, but I’ve also mentioned a bit about the pandemic stopping people from coming to church. So ash, what can people do if they can’t receive Communion? How else can they look to find healing in their current situation, if they need healing?

27:12 I think the first step is reaching out. And if that’s

27:19 ideally, that would be reaching out to your local church. But I understand that healing, might not it might not be that way. Because you might have been hurt by the church. But I think reaching out to someone, and beginning with prayer, and it might be up to you having the strength to reach out in prayer. But I understand that I’ve been there where I’ve not even have the strength to pray.

27:45 So reaching out to someone who could help you pray or pray for you can be a massive first step.

27:53 And then reaching out when you are able to your church to be able to maybe bring you communion, I think is another important step. I also think it’s something that we as churches need to think about. Because I think this last year has opened up a whole set of questions of holes that people actually who we have forgotten about, for many, many, many, many years, a whole group of people who have fallen by the wayside, and we have maybe not cared for, or loved, as we should have. And actually, how do we still connect to those when they might not possibly be able to get

28:36 physical communion within the building? with people in a relational sense? What do you think? Yeah, I think prayers, I think prayer is really important.

28:48 I also think that fellowship, as I said, is really important. So even if you can’t go to church, if you can have fellowship with other Christians, maybe that will be through online church or through connecting in different ways than absolutely try and create fellowship with others.

29:07 I know disability and Jesus have done a Bible study,

29:11 I think monthly. And that’s been one way for people who have struggled to gather health to connect with other Christians to have fellowship. And, and they’ve been praying for each other. And I think that’s really important that you also with others praying, I think, yeah, prayer and fellowship are really important to our faith. And we need to somehow create that. And I think, as you’ve said, the church hasn’t been great at doing that in the past.

29:36 And we need to kind of think about new ways of being creative with how we connect to and reach out to others. Yeah, and there were people who were reaching out before, such as disability and Jesus, but I think that that’s wonderful. But we also need to think locally as well, like how we can reach out to those who are maybe a bit

30:00 further apart. And I’ve got this quote from

30:06 Joseph divine, who says we need to be healed or the wound of sin to share in the Holy Eucharist. The more we are healed of this wound, the more we are capable in sharing in the gift.

30:21 Do you see the healing nature, Josh, of us to help us in our discipleship of others?

30:28 Hmm.

30:30 Yeah, I think, I think absolutely, if, as I’ve argued, and will continue to argue that I see healing as reconciliation. If as we are reconciled and healed with our relationship with God, then we have space in ourselves to be reconciled with others. And that can only be a good thing, it can only help us share the gift of healing with others, I mean, who receives a gift and hides it away? If we received a gift, we want to share it with us, we don’t want others to know how amazing life gift is, you know, and we must share that, too. Obviously, healing kind of encourages us to share our faith and that encourages discipleship.

31:17 Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting point. And I find it really interesting about that, when we hired a gift. Because we have been, we’ve, there’s been a lot of shame, I think, for those who go to church for a long time. And we’ve hidden the gift in some respects, and we need to make this church recognise the healing potential that we’ve had and the gift we’ve been having, and be more open and willing to share that gift.

31:49 Because

31:51 a long time ago, people would have been shocked that I didn’t know the rituals of church, that I didn’t understand the rituals that came understanding the setting and the words that were spoken.

32:04 Whereas now it’s the norm.

32:07 So I think our discipleship of ourselves is really important. But we also need to recognise that, as disciples we are called to.

32:17 And we can take the gift of healing, you don’t need to be ordained, to pray a prayer of healing with somebody, I think this there’s a fear about praying with all this about fear about using the right words, and, and saying the wrong things. And,

32:34 and I, I’m trying to remember the words I used in Neston, when I prayed for people think it was Spirit of the Living God present with us now, and your mind, body, and spirit and heal you from all that harms you. And that we, anyone can pray that prayer. Anyone, it doesn’t need to be ordained to pray. So actually, if you have people in your family who are sick, and you want to pray for them, pray for them. And when people come to me, and I say, Josh, can you pray for me? I try and say when I remember, I’ll pray with you.

33:14 Why don’t you pray for your brother who’s sick? And I’ll I’ll agree with you. And now pray.

33:20 Prayer isn’t a gift from the clergy. It’s a gift from God, and we can all use it. So yeah, as as we think about disciples sing overs, let’s all think about praying for them and, and doing it ourselves. Let’s be those evangelists. So missionaries, those healers, let’s let’s be that in the world of prayer doesn’t have to be complicated either, does it? I think so. I when I hear this, I was like, oh, my goodness, I have to have this massive, magical formula to what I need you right now actually,

33:48 how to pray. And these were the five steps and you you follow the five steps. And that’s how do you pray. And it doesn’t even have to be that complicated. It can even be creative. You don’t even have to use words, because God already knows what’s on your heart. And I think that’s what we have to remember. And I remember in America, praying by colour, and colouring, and that counts as prayer because God hears you, God knows what you’re saying, but just spending some time with him is what’s important.

34:18 And there are so many places that you can go and receive healing through next and there’s a place that has a healing nucleus, and they still do in some modes and Helens and months and months, so you can go to that and we’re in Hazel Grove Norbury. We have a healing service on Sunday evening. Our next one will be on the 12th of September. So you can come along and and receive prayers there but if you’re further afield, I mean, st Marylebone has a huge healing ministry and they have healing communities. So there’s loads of places you can go to receive prayer of healing, and just going to your church and saying, Hey, could you pray with me? I know that seems quite scary, but churches are places where where which offer healing. So that’s definitely something

35:01 You don’t have to go in nowadays they have their own Facebook pages or email addresses. So you can email someone and just say, hey, I need some prayer. Or I know somebody who needs a prayer. You don’t have to include names. Because God already knows. So that if you feel like you’re worried about breaking confidentiality or something, don’t worry, because you don’t have to use their name. You can just say, I’d like some prayer. Please, can you or I know someone who needs this prayer? Can you say a general platforming, please?

35:35 I think actually, that’s a really good place to end it today.

35:40 Thank you for the conversation. It’s been really helpful. It’s been really interesting. I really enjoyed it. And I’d love to pray for us. And for those who listen, before we end, but before we do, should we tell people about what’s coming up in the next few months? Yeah, we’ve got some really exciting podcast, we’ve got some lovely guests we

36:02 do. Would you like to tell us who they are? Yeah. So next month, we’ve got Vanessa Layfield, from the Diocese of Chester. She’s our inclusion officer. And Father, Mark Turner, who is a school chaplain and priest on the will. And they’ll come and talk to us about the issue of healing disability, and kind of grappling with some of the churches thinking about healing and disability. And I’m sure it’ll be an absolutely fascinating conversation. And then in October, we’ve got Gillian Straine have from go health. Yeah, she they’re talking about healthy living healthy communities. And her work with the Guild of St. Raphael. Yes. So it’s really excited. And we’d love to continue to hear from you guys. So if you want to messages on Facebook or comment on Facebook, it’s joining pays for me, is actually in Facebook, sorry. So you should be able to find us on Facebook really easily. Or if you’ve got any comments, or we’re coming to the end of this. So if you have any suggestions about what you’d like us to talk about in the future, you can email those suggestions to journeyingfaithfully@gmail.com. Yeah. And that’s Yeah. So we really do love to hear from you. We love to hear your comments.

37:25 Because that really helps us to make sure we’re talking about things that you’d like to hear about. And make sure that we’re keeping on track again, waffling into the events. But before we say goodbye, shall I pray for us? Yes, the lovely

37:45 God, our Father, who is the source of all life and health, all strength and peace, teachers to know you truly, take from us all that hinders the work of your healing power, all our sins, all anxieties and fears, or resentment and hardness of heart. And help us to learn to enter into stillness and peace with you. And to know that you are our healer and redeem through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

38:19 And all the links for any of the quotes we’ve had today will be in the show notes. They will.

38:26 I’m Josh and I’m Ashleigh, thank you for listening to this episode of journeying faithfully podcast.

38:36 Have a good one.

Bonus Mini Episode: Mental Health Week

Also check us out on YouTube for this bonus episode.

Show Notes:

In this bonus mini-episode we explore mental health in relation to discipleship for Mental Health Week. Josh and Ash briefly look at how those who face mental health difficulties can also face stigma not just in the world but also in the church and briefly discuss their own experiences with mental health. Mental health is something that we should all think about and in this podcast the following links are recommended:

Mind Charity: https://www.mind.org.uk

NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/nhs-…

Stockport Christian Counselling: https://www.sccounselling.org

Transcription:

0:26
Hello, it’s lovely to see you in a different way as we we come to you from the vicarage, and we come to talk about an issue it’s on both are actually in his heart. The minute this week is Mental Health Week, isn’t it?

0:43
It is and what kind of want to invite you to discuss that with as well as

0:48
we kind of want to, you know, this podcast is called journeying faithfully, or faithfully journeying,

0:55
journeying faithfully,

0:56
and we want you to come on that journey with us. And actually, mental health can be a really difficult conversation to have. It’s, it’s not one that’s often out in public. And we want you to be part of that conversation. We want to remove some of that stigma, in this very short video of mental health problems and issues and difficulties and challenges. And we want to offer some resources, maybe if you find yourself in a situation, that is difficult. One of the greatest resources we can offer as the US is the Bible. And the Bible talks a lot about peace doesn’t, it does it really does. Jesus’s ministry was based all around peace and giving peace. And in john, in chapter in john 16, Jesus says this, I have said these things to you, the enemy, you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world. In our last podcast, if you listen to it, we talked a little bit about Easter. And about Jesus overcoming some of our tribulations, didn’t we? We did.

2:15
And we look, we linked that to both our physical and our mental health. And that’s a little bit of the statistics, including the one where one in four will suffer from a mental health, illness or episode in every year.

2:33
And I’m still surprised by that. Because it’s such a large figure. yet we’re afraid to talk about it.

2:40
We are afraid to talk right? And we’re not just afraid to talk about it. We’re afraid to pray.

2:44
Yeah, we are. Not because the church has mistreated and misused prayer. Either in in our church, even in my church in norbury. I’ve seen examples where we have said things that have not been helpful to people who may be struggling with one thing or another thing we may have said, Well, how can you just prayed? And that can be a really unhelpful thing on it.

3:12
It can we get it wrong to like, we’re not perfect in any sense of the word. But we it’s simple things, isn’t it, we will quite happily pray for physical ailments will quite happily talk about them in a much easier sense than it is when it comes to mental health where that stigma still lies.

3:33
Definitely. And also, I think, sometimes we approach prayer with an expectation that there has to be an answer, or there have been answered that that looks like healing. Yes. And often that isn’t the case. Often the we need all the things to help just like we need to go to a doctor to receive physical healing. There were some times we need to go receive healing for for other issues as well and other crises as well. And I think that was kind of the stigma wields challenge, isn’t it?

4:03
Yeah. And I think it’s interesting, isn’t it because we understand or we’re getting better at understanding where we haven’t always got this right. But there is physical illnesses there always get healed. We expect this miraculous from the mental health and though actually understand that actually, it takes a lot of work and requires a lot of time to to work on those issues.

4:29
And often we see it as weakness, especially men. The word that is branded around often is toxic masculinity and it can be used for anything toxic masculinity, especially in the response to Sarah Everardo and what happened a few months ago, it can be seen content as as kind of a different thing but there is also a side to toxic masculinity that is about pride and ego and To not cry, and I listened to a podcast recently by Governor B, who is a rapper and a Christian artist. And he talks about in his recent book about grief and how grief affected him, and how he didn’t cry, actually, until a good few years after his dad died. And it was in that moment of crying that he realised that there is weakness, but that’s releasing emotions in a in a healthy way.

5:29
And it can be as a strength that you are able to mentally process what is happening, that we don’t accept a lot of the tailors as that actual strength.

5:42
Yeah, and that’s, so that’s kind of where we are, I think that’s conversation want to have. But I think we want to talk a little bit about our own experiences, because we both have very different experiences. When I was at university I trained became a Mental Health First Aid practitioner. And in one of the roles I performed within the university, I saw a lot of different students who were facing a whole stream of different problems and challenges. And often would encourage them to go and receive counselling, because it’s a really helpful thing to do. And I think you’ve had quite positive experiences, haven’t you with counselling?

6:18
I have, I think I was on the other end of that, I suppose. And in college, I had an amazing counsellor who helped me process a lot of the things that were happening in my own personal life, with my dad being ill, as well as coming to terms with who I am. But they haven’t always been positive counselling experiences. When I was in university, it wasn’t a positive. And so I think it is important to find the person that is right for you. But I also found, I came to faith, actually, in some of my darkest moments. Yeah. And I think that has been a massive importance in my life in changing, not changing who I am, but allowing me to become the person I was always meant to be.

7:09
And people may have seen and although imagine discussions well, but they may have seen us reflections on the Psalms that we did in Len. And we talked a lot about in our songs about lament, and actually how the psalmist really came to God with all of their emotions, both that praising God and the hilltops, but also their, their deep his moments of despair. And I think people were surprised that your faith almost grew out of despair rather than hope.

7:42
Yeah, it really did. I think I connected so deeply to those cries of lawmen that there was an outlet for it that I found somewhere that nowhere else in society nowhere else in culture was willing to go. Yet the Bible. Had it right there. They were willing to go there.

8:04
Yeah. Yeah. And that is what we want to encourage, really, from this mini podcast, this mini episode, is we want to encourage the conversation, we want to say that it is absolutely okay to talk about mental health, to talk about mental well being and to seek appropriate support when that’s needed. So actually, you got a resource that we were talking about earlier today, haven’t you that that you want to recommend to people

8:32
I want it? Well, there’s two there is obviously the NHS website. As a ex pharmacist, I am a big advocate for the NHS website. And there is also the charity mind, we will put the website in the show notes. So if you need to access that charity, you can do so. And you had something more local Yeah, stop. Oh, yeah.

8:55
So I need to I need to get up my notes for this because I can can’t remember all the details. But in 1989, Stockport Christian counselling services was out that’s a long time. And they offer pre trained professional counsellors for you to have conversation with. After they offer lots of support. They offer prayer support, they offer counselling support, and it can all be a free or a donation based system. We as no reject. I think in the past I’ve given donations to Stockport counselling service to support the work they do. And that really experience is as we come in to learn that’s what we want to encourage you to be able to begin the conversations

9:43
and not just with these professional services but with each other. And with your churches if you’re not part of norbury or if you are brilliant with with the church, with each other, with your family with your friends

9:58
reach out, reaching out to anybody is a good thing, isn’t it? Yeah, I really just to begin that conversation because sometimes that just the start of the conversation just saying, I don’t feel okay is a good way to begin a massive step forward and you might be in a great place you might be in an absolutely wonderful ways and life might feel brilliant. And that’s fine as well but to remove that stigma to remove that stigma of even if you are in a good place, so there’ll be others who are struggling so it’s being willing to approach them and have a conversation with them as well. It is really important isn’t

10:33
it? Yeah, definitely. And go into these websites you could you can get help for yourself. But places like mine will actually give you information of how you could reach out and help others

10:46
as well. Yeah, we want to normalise the conversation that’s that’s what we want to do. I think as your you’re gonna leave us, we began Didn’t we with Jesus peace, john reading but I think you’ve got another reading.

10:59
I have. I’ve got john, Chapter 14, verse 27. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled. And do not be afraid.

11:20
Peace I leave with you. God’s peace can overcome any tribulation in the world. God’s peace is far deeper than any of the struggles we face. God overcame death. So that we could have eternal life was live in that peace and close journey together in that peace and oneness. Remove stigma of struggle of hardship, unless encourage one another to walk and to practice peace. Thank you for joining us for this mini episode of journeying faithfully. If you’d like to catch up on our series, or listen to any of our episodes, please do check out our website journeying safely.com or our anchor site or look for our podcasts on any of your streaming devices however you stream. I’m Josh and I’m Ashleigh and thank you for joining us in the conversation today.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Series One: Episode 2: Healing and Discipleship

A look at healing in the Gospels and what it could mean today

Below are the show notes for this weeks episode:

Unknown 0:09
Well, hello, it’s nice to have you with us for this month’s instalment of the journey and faithfully podcast. I’m Josh. And I’m Ashleigh, you know I nearly said I was actually Ashleigh

Unknown 0:23
Well it is a girl’s and a boy’s name is indeed you. All right.

Unknown 0:26
Well, thank you for joining us in today’s podcast. Today, we’re going to look at healing discipleship. We’re actually we look at the Gospels as well, suppose in healing art, we actually better we are a little bit yeah. So I’m not sure we planned to make this podcast every other month. But that seems to have become the pattern, doesn’t it? Really? Yeah. It seems a bit odd that we’re recording this podcast, actually, two months after we discussed whole life discipleship. I know how’s your discipleship journey been since then? Well, it’s, it’s been locked down. And up and down. It’s really hard to find those small spaces start small, like quiet spaces. When you live in a house with both a puppy and a four year old. Yeah, definitely. So there’s one exciting thing that our discipleship includes, isn’t that it is about our whole life. And I know that you have made some small changes in your life, which I’d love to think of our ways of discipleship. Have I? Yeah,

Unknown 1:31
we gave a couple of things. We became vegetarian. We did. Yeah. I thought about our ecology, you know, how we cared for the environment? No way to do that. And I gave up caffeine. That was fun for a few weeks. Fun for her.

Unknown 1:47
But also, we are something didn’t we? We did actually, we added exercise in a way.

Unknown 1:54
It’s hard, isn’t it? Because in some ways, it doesn’t feel like discipleship, though, does what? But our health is intrinsically linked to our discipleship. Do you remember the retreat? We went on in Chicago? Yeah, the one with a really good food. And that amazing pizza? If I remember, right, it was so okay, I’m getting Yeah, you are definitely getting off topic. But yeah, it was the one with the good food, and the good hospitality as well. Well, at the heart of that retreat was a whole life discipleship model, which was based on health. The Trailer’s who had put together this congregational wellness model, as they called it understood that the heart of our faith is a call to look after ourselves, body, mind and soul. You are so right. And I think we should really give out a shout out to living compass. And you should be able to check out their Facebook page. I’m sure they do some amazing work. So I’m guessing that the focus of this podcast impart Yes, but we’re also going to focus on one specific area of faith, which is often difficult to understand and grapple with, and what’s that healing? Yeah, even as a pharmacist or x pharmacist, I can really still struggle with the link between that health and faith. It’s something I’m really passionate about. But yeah, it’s you, not me here that has the experience. So it’s you that that’s really going to be offering the explanations, isn’t it today? Yeah, I’m sure you’re gonna chip in a little bit. Of course I am. This is a conversation after all. And if the listeners wants to contribute, if they want to get involved in this conversation, how could they go about doing that ash? Well, they can go to our website or a Facebook page, or they could even email us. Yeah, we want them to be a part of the conversation as well. And at the end of these episodes, there’ll be a specific question that we would love them to answer for was, isn’t there? There is I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves. I tend to do that though. I want to go back a little bit and talk about health. Now, there are many different aspects to health. Is that like, physical, mental, that kind of thing? Yeah, exactly that, although some experts actually say there are even more than just those two categories. It can encompass everything from physical to financial, emotional, and mental health, and some experts split it down even further. Wow. Well, well, we’re going to start then, let’s take physical health. physical health includes everything from physical fitness. Let’s just say that I’m glad that these are podcasts and not videos. Okay, and overall well being according to Jeff at ease. Now, here in the UK, it is said that 93% of the population have at least one risk factor of ill health from smoking to low fruit and veg consumption. That that’s actually a quite scary statistic when you think about it. It really is and therefore

Unknown 5:00
physical health is a massive area, and is probably the one we can relate the most to, because we can see it. It makes me think of Doubting Thomas in that because we can see it and have it personally feel it, it becomes a bit more real, probably why we so often forget all those people with hidden illness. That really is true. But I reckon we could have a whole separate podcast on just that issue alone. True. When it comes to physical manifestations of disease, we can relate that really easily to healing. But there’s also mental health that we have to think about. This is probably the secondary isn’t it that we think of when it comes to our health? Yeah, mental health, according to the World Health Organisation, is a state of well being that allows individuals to realise their own potential, cope with normal stresses of life can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to their community. And now for another scary statistic, about a quarter of the population will experience a mental health problem over the course of one year, just one year, just one year. You can see why physical and mental health are what we first think of them when it comes to healing, can’t you? Definitely if they seem obvious, because these are the kinds of things that we would go see a medical professional, about from pharmacist to a doctor. Now, as I have said, there are other forms of health. But I know that we’re going to touch on at least one other in this podcast, so I think it might be best to move on then. Sounds good to me.

Unknown 6:50
So if I seem to remember right, we did a lot of on wellness at the retreat. Although being in the throes of morning sickness means that some of that time is a little hazy now. Yeah, the whole process was about wellness. The facilitator spoke about wellness, as coming in four different ways.

Unknown 7:09
Yeah, they did they talk about wellness, being in heart, soul, mind and strength, if I seem to remember right, and in the good story of the good,

Unknown 7:19
the good story, the good sorry. Well, the Bible is full of good stories are we talking about in particular, that the good story of the Good Samaritan, a lot of gods, I just love, love the word good. When Jesus was asked by an expert in the law, how he could inherit eternal life, Jesus replied with a question, didn’t he, he asked the expert of the law, what he thought he did, and the expert of the law report, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.

Unknown 7:57
And Jesus responded, you have answered correctly, Jesus replied, do this, and you will live.

Unknown 8:07
Often when we approach healing in a medical or scientific way, we forget that we need to focus on the whole person, that healing is not just physical is not simply praying and getting healed, but about a whole person wellness. In fact, until really, very recently, wellness has been focused primarily on the physical dimension of our healing. If you think back to our discussion a moment ago, I have taken up physical exercise to help but not found time to focus on the other areas of my life. That’s why the story from Luke 10, the good good good samaritan is if you put it is so interesting. It shows that Jesus and the Bible is interested in the whole person. After when Jesus heals, as we will come to see all we’ll talk about. He heals the whole person, not just the illness, but often he’ll forgive as well. And I suppose for us and this podcast, it’s interesting to think about your profession. Why is that? Well, I don’t think many people are coming to you to ask for a cure for cancer, are they? No, they tend to seek me out when they have a crisis of faith, a moment of doubt, like Thomas, you mentioned a few moments ago. Yes. And they wanted some form of spiritual or emotional healing. And that is something that I think the church can offer, but often misses. Interesting.

Unknown 9:34
Maybe we should explore some of the examples of Jesus, Jesus, healing others and look at healing in the gospels, and then discuss how we could maybe structure our lives in a better way. maybe think about whole life, discipleship, and healing.

Unknown 9:48
So let’s think about healing and Jesus. Jesus, as we’ve already said, was all about healing and not just physical healing. No, not at all he was about wholeness.

Unknown 10:00
When I was looking through the Gospels in preparation for this podcast, I was surprised about how many times when healing someone, Jesus would say your sins are forgiven. Yes. And then when healing people Jesus seemed far more interested in making them whole, and forgiving their sins, then simply curing them of a recent ailment. Actually, it may be even more simple than wholeness. I think. Christopher Gower, a previous Rector and prebendary writes that the heart of Jesus’s message is the preaching of the kingdom of God. The kingdom is not around, but a rain, the dynamic reign and rule of God. By healing others, Jesus was bringing about the kingdom of God. So yeah, that’s all really fascinating, Josh, but I think what some of our listeners are going to focus on like I am.

Unknown 10:57
What was it a bender? prebendary prebendary? Probably is an honorary canon. No, no, no, not like a cannon on a pirate ship. Not something you shoot a cannon ball out of but a member of a cathedral?

Unknown 11:16
Does that answer that question? And you think, yeah, but I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit disappointed that the cathedral doesn’t have real cannons. Well, okay. And I’m sure you can take that with a cathedral at some point in your in your life. But today, can we return to Our discussing about Jesus? I think that sounds good to me. I think actually, we’re about to have a bit of a fact of looking at our notes, cuz I think we might have read the same material. I think so. So, I’m going to begin and I’ll maybe I’ll sound wiser than you. And then you can, you can come come in with the same facts. But I know, in listener, our listener will be really interested, I think, in the fact that over 38% of the narrative verses in our gospel, that somewhere near 484 verse, I didn’t count them personally. But that was formed in April versus I are devoted to describing the healings, miracles of Jesus. I’m interested. But did you know that 40% of the Gospel of Mark is made up of healing stories? I’m fairly sure we’ve read the same book, mainly because we live in the same house and we have access to the same books.

Unknown 12:31
And it goes back to the honorary canon again, doesn’t it to Christopher Gower. And Christopher goes on to know that the Gospels we called 38 incidents of healing 26 of those are healings of individuals. But I was fascinated to see that 12 of them are healings of groups of individuals. Yeah, it was a really fascinating book. And what I really liked was, the premise, much like I spoke about a moment ago, was not simply about healing, but about giving a message. Jesus wanted people to know about the kingdom of God. Yes. And an older chattering report all about healing now, it was called the time to heal. Well, that report argues that the healing ministry is one of the greatest opportunities the church has today, for sharing the gospel for doing just that, for sharing the kingdom of God. It really does. But I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves. So we love a bit more about the importance of healing before we move on to thinking about how we could live those principles out in our Christian faith in life, that seems to make sense. Should we look a bit about healing salvation.

Unknown 13:42
So as you said, we’re now going to look a little bit about healing and salvation. And one of the crucial messages that I want people to understand is that health is deeply biblical, that Jesus was not just performing some neat little parlour tricks, but his message of healing was something much more important. Absolutely. When Jesus healed, he was interested in the person salvation.

Unknown 14:10
Often we come to these stories, as sceptical.

Unknown 14:16
We either dismiss or distort our biblical understanding of healing, we either seem to put too much of an emphasis on the need and the expectation of being healed. And therefore dismiss and people who have not been healed, or don’t have faith like we talked about those hidden disabilities often

Unknown 14:37
or we begin to doubt the messages of healing we begin to doubt their their if they were true at all.

Unknown 14:44
And then we question the biblical understanding, don’t we? That is so true. And someone when we were out in America that we found heard a lot about was an American scholar and theologian, Kate bowler, who

Unknown 15:00
herself suffers from cancer and writes this for some Christians. People wanted salvation from bleak medical diagnosis. They wanted to see God rescue their broken teenagers or their misfiring marriages. They wanted talismans to ward off things that go bump in the night. They wanted a modicum of power over things that ripped their lives apart at the seams. In the face of difficulty these people wanted answers. Kate’s book is a beautiful exploration of what it means when we do not get the answers. Kate found in her suffering not some extra special outcome but a deep rooted ordinary ordinary, can’t say this word. Oh,

Unknown 15:49
how on earth do I say that ordinary ordinary, to have a, she found a hope that did not offer healing straightaway, but gave her faith to in the resurrection. And she she also offers a quote from the prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila. We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can, namely surrender our well and fulfil God’s will in us. That is one of the hardest things to do, though, don’t you think?

Unknown 16:20
When it comes to healing, to self doubt to hardship, it’s just impossible to let go. Let it go.

Unknown 16:30
Sorry. I live with a four year old.

Unknown 16:35
Yes, it is. But it seems to be the advice of most saints let it go. Think about it. How often in the Gospel? Did Jesus ask people to let go?

Unknown 16:50
I didn’t think to give up on belief and pay off something else. In fact, often healing came when people chose to give up on one thing and choose to believe Kate reminds is that the first thing we need to let go of when it comes to healing his pride. If we think back to league 10 that is what Jesus was telling the religious expert to do, wasn’t it? He was commanding the religious expert to let go believe, to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. And in doing so believe that he will be set free that he will be healed. And that’s just as relevant to the religious activated league. tenza is to to us today. Exactly. It is such a rich narrative of what it means to be healed. Not just to be healed, though, but to be a part of the kingdom of God. If we return to the prevalently Christopher Graham canon, yes, the Canon but not the pirate canon. He writes that healing is inherent in Christianity. We see it throughout the ministry of Jesus. More than this, however, Gower goes on to argue that we see it in the promises of the resurrection. We’re writing this while recording this, I suppose. Just after Easter, we’ve just celebrated the promises of the resurrection. And in the hope of the resurrection, we are promised eternal life. We offer the time in the future we don’t know when that will be, which will be free of sickness, free of suffering, free of mortality, a time when all shall be well. And that is what the healing ministry of Jesus offers us a foretaste of the kingdom of God. So just before we move on, could we offer the reader three simple points to summarise the conversation we just had? Do you think? Potentially we’ve covered quite a lot of ground, haven’t we up to this point? Well, number one, healing is at the heart of our faith. It’s at the heart of what we believe and it’s crucial to our faith is about more than physical healing, and incorporates a whole life healing, which focuses on our heart, on our mind, on our soul and on our strength. Yeah, definitely. And I think our second one is that healing is actually at the heart of our gospel. And if we go back to the factor of

Unknown 19:24
45, it makes up over 30% 38% of the narrative verse in the cost of time well bear these facts in you. I would have known it was 38.

Unknown 19:37
We would love to hear from you guys on who you think’s better at the funky factor.

Unknown 19:42
And so and what did we all say to 38% of the narrative versus in the gospels, which equals somewhere near 484 verses in which are devoted to healing miracles of Jesus. Yeah, and

Unknown 20:00
Third, I think if we’re going to have a third, healing is linked to our salvation, Jesus healed to give people a taste a foretaste of the kingdom of God. In the resurrection, we are promised eternal life, a life where there will be no more pain, suffering, or sickness, I really want to be a part of. So when it comes to faith, we’ve already demonstrated that healing is crucial. But I wonder what you’d say to someone who is suffering today?

Unknown 20:28
Do you mean somebody who is suffering, or someone who’s suffering and needs healing? Because I think there’s a difference there?

Unknown 20:36
Yeah, that is a difference. I suppose someone who is suffering and needs healing, so is coming to that Becker. Because they either have a physical or a mental

Unknown 20:51
condition that they want to ask God, for healing for. Okay. Well, I think I’d encourage them to believe I mean, this is a really hard area. And I do not profess that I’ve got this right yet, or that I have got to a point in my faith journey where I am, absolutely bang on. I don’t think I ever will be. But I think to begin with, I would definitely encourage them to believe, to not be discouraged, and to know that they are loved.

Unknown 21:18
Often we can feel like a failure when things don’t happen the way we expect. Others seem to be happy and healthy. And we are now. Yeah, our Bible is full of misfits and rock tags. People who are not perfect, who often had what the world would define as issues or problems.

Unknown 21:41
But God still use them. In fact, often God used them because they were misfits or rock tags. That explains a lot about us.

Unknown 21:51
And think about think about Paul, think about St. Paul. He grappled his whole life with a thorn in his side, and we have no clue what that Thorn was. I mean, some people say that he might have been blind, or others have said he was crippled. Some have said like me, he was probably below average in height.

Unknown 22:09
Whatever it was, though, God’s still used him. And God didn’t take that thought away ever in Paul’s ministry. He, he grappled with that right until the end. But he was he felt a mightily powerful ministry, he still was a real preacher of the Gospels, showing people this kingdom of God, wasn’t he?

Unknown 22:30
Yeah, definitely, I think we, what we can learn is that healing can happen in many ways, or not at all. Yeah, I think that’s really important to stress actually, that God has good intentions for us. That even if we are not healed in the way we expect, God still loves us, and wants good for us. And if we go back to Kate bola, who the Theologian with cancer, who was spoke about earlier, she’s not been healed from cancer, or at least not yet. And she may never be. But she still believes.

Unknown 23:05
Because I’m because of her cancer, her faith has actually deepened. She’s come to appreciate the messiness of life and the importance of suffering. And it’s become a huge beacon for many, I would go to say a million, probably millions of people across the world. Definitely, she has such a strong example, isn’t she of, of how we can we can deepen our faith in the midst of suffering. And I think that’s really important, actually. And as a vicar, I don’t think it’s easy to things for me to tell people, that sometimes God leaves us in our suffering. As we want answers, aren’t those fairytale Lego frozen answers, don’t we, but often, God, God, God’s still with us in our suffering, and God may never take that suffering from us. And that’s the thing I think, if I go back to a book where that I used to that I’d read a long time ago, Philip Yancey, his book, he talks about where is God when it hurts? And he does link that, you know, he shows that different people healing meant different things. And that doesn’t have to have always a physical manifestation of no healing, healing may actually be a foretaste of the kingdom of God. But it’s only a foretaste, isn’t it? It doesn’t mean we have to be healed. So it may feel that that foretaste of heaven, but others might know. I’m not I’m that’s really hard to hear, I know. But it can often be the hope for us

Unknown 24:36
that this is only a foretaste,

Unknown 24:39
that God wants a deeper relationship with us that there’s a promise of eternal life that goes long beyond and goes far beyond our suffering. So Josh, how do we make this all about our discipleship? Well, that that’s really the question we were getting to, wasn’t it? I mean, we’ve had our funky facts. We’ve had our really fascinating stuff, and I’ve actually loved this week. It’s helped me think about

Unknown 25:00
About my my faith journey and how I approach healing, but when it comes down to healing, and our discipleship, I think it’s about, it’s about a deepening of our relationship with God. I think that’s what you spoke about, with Kate bolas story, that as we we’ve explored, as we’ve seen in the Gospel, Jesus uses healing to demonstrate the kingdom of God. And when we see people heal today, that’s a foretaste of that it’s a foretaste of those promises God has given us. And as we see that, and as we suffer, it’s all about deepening of our relationship, deepening of our trust. So it’s all about relationship. Yeah. As as should be. And so have you got any ideas on how we could maybe delete or deepen our relationship with God? Well, let’s return to Luke 10. It feels like we’ve used Luke 10. I was gonna use other examples today. But But I think actually, that speaks quite, quite beautifully. This idea of whole life, design, whole life, wellness, whole life health. If we look at Luke 10, to begin with, we can love God. That’s what that’s what the expert says, Jesus love Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, strength, even when it’s hard to do so. I think especially when it’s hard, I think they’re the times that we really need

Unknown 26:23
to dig deep and focus. Yeah, definitely. Just like when we get on a treadmill and want to lose weight, we can also begin to put practices into our faith, that deepen our spiritual resilience. And we can put those practices in our daily lives that make us spiritually healthy. And maybe in the next episode, we will look at some practical examples of those kinds of practices. That sounds like an amazing idea. So Josh, I think one thing that we haven’t explored is that Jesus body post resurrection hadn’t actually been healed. Yeah, we definitely probably could look more at that. But I think we’ve we’ve talked a lot today. And we’ve kind of we’ve covered a lot of ground. Maybe in our next podcast, when we’re going to look at different ways of discipleship, different ways of healing can relate to our life. Maybe we could look at it then. And especially when we’re looking at the Eucharist, and receiving Jesus body. What do you think? Absolutely. I think we have covered a lot of ground. There is a lot been a lot of facts, a lot of things for people to absorb from this week. And I think we should leave them to maybe ponder. Those three points we offered earlier. Yeah, definitely. What What were they get forgotten?

Unknown 27:39
Well, Josh, they are number one, that healing is at the heart of our faith. Yep. Number two, that healing is at the heart of our gospel. Yep. And number three, that healing is linked to our salvation. That seems like an amazing place to stop actually today, doesn’t it? It does. And I hope you’ve got those three. Yeah, I’m, I’m right now. And I’m right now, actually, before we wrap up our recording, though, when we had to ask people to join us in this conversation? Yes, definitely. And how can they do that? Well, if they have any ways that they could link their health, emotional memories, they are linking health and discipleship. Not Oh, we’d love to hear about them. That can be physical that could be I don’t like running and pray. Although I’ve heard that if you run with your eyes closed, you went into things, not training myself. You don’t have to pray with your eyes closed, you know this, right.

Unknown 28:38
But anyway, that they they link their health with their discipleship, we’d love to hear from them. But how could we hear from them? Well, we’d love to include them in the next podcast. And so you could leave us a voice recording, you could email that to us at journeyingfaithfully@gmail.com. Yeah. So I

Unknown 29:00
put that in the I’ll put all this in the podcast blurb so that people can find the links. So yeah, so they can either send us a voice recording, or they could send that on via Facebook. Or you could just send us a written message, either to journeyingfaithfully@gmail.com. Or, again through Facebook, and we will read that out in the next podcast. That would be that would be really cool idea, wouldn’t it? But for now, should we offer a prayer about health and life and salvation? I think that’d be a really cool idea. Shall I pray for us? That would be amazing. So the prayer we’re going to use comes from the Iona community and it’s a prayer for anyone really who’s suffering today could say, I think,

Unknown 29:45
shall we pray?

Unknown 29:48
spirits of the living God, present with us now enter me body, mind and spirit and heal me of all that harms me in Jesus’s name.

Unknown 30:00
Amen

Unknown 30:01
And may God bless all those who listened today and always. Amen. People said Amen. Amen. Thank you for listening to us today. Yeah, definitely. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you

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Series One: Episode 1: Whole Life Discipleship

In today’s episode we begin to unpack what to expect in this our first series of the Journeying Faithfully podcast. 
We look at whole life discipleship and talk about the ways that our faith journeys are unique and different. We also begin to discuss how faith can relate to healing and what we can learn about discipleship during the pandemic.

Below are the show notes for our first podcast episode. The episode can be found on Spotify and by following the link below:

Section One

IntroductionAre you currently on a journey of faith? Lost and bored in the old ways of doing it? Want more creative and fun ways to deepen your faith? Then we welcome, to the podcast Journeying Faithfully, the monthly podcast, with your hosts Josh and Ash, as we begin to look for new and imaginative ways to explore our faith. Let’s take this journey together…
Jingle/Music

Section Two

The journeyIf you have ever wondered if there is more to faith than attending church on a Sunday or listening to Christian music in the car?  Well this is a podcast for you!
In each series Josh and Ash will look at a theme and explore how it can relate to our faith and how we can integrate it and develop our faith to incorporate our whole lives.  Each series we will try and include at least one guest who is working in that particular field to show how they have integrated faith and discipleship in their every day lives. 

Today’s episodeLet’s get down to today’s episode? What are we looking at today, Ash? Today we are looking at adult discipleship. And why is that important? Well, as we have already mentioned most “christians” understand attending church on a Sunday. They may even be attending a church virtually in the current climate. But many Christians don’t seem to appreciate the importance of developing their own walk with Christ. Yes, often we fail to remember that 98% of people who attend church on a Sunday will spend 95% of their lives beyond the church walls and that this is the primary context for their discipleship! Whether they be at home… we are all spending a lot of time at home at the minute. or at work, or at the school gate, on the sports pitch or whether they are most of our lives are not lived in the church building.  So, if that is the case, we need to think a bit about our discipleship then? Yes, we especially need to think about what it means to nurture our faith when we are not in the building. We need to think about what it means create “whole life discipleship.” Yes, we need to be intentional about spending time with God. And that doesn’t need to be boring.  Or even look a certain way. Not at all. There are so many ways we can connect our faith and lives together and they will not look the same for everyone.  Should we may talk about some of the ways we connect with God?  Yes, and while we are at it maybe we can bust some of the myths that church needs to be boring as well! Let’s maybe not try and tackle to much in one episode!
Section Three

Whole Life DiscipleshipSo why do we put our faith in a box? That’s an interesting question. I wonder if it’s because we get caught in a school type mindset. If we think of it as a type of learning. You read the bible to learn about God. Or you go to church to become a better person. I wonder if we frame it in terms of head knowledge.  Yes, often we get caught in wanting to know stuff. We need to prove that our faith means something, or that God exists, or that Jesus was real and we do not leave space for what some people call heart knowledge.  Yes, Jane Regan, who is a Director of Continuing Education and Associate Professor of Theology and Religion Education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, argues that “information is not enough – it is information for its own sake”. She goes on to suggest that what we need is “information that is in the service of formation and transformation”. Now, that is something I could buy into. The idea that we take our “head knowledge”. The things we learn in Sunday School maybe and transform them into heart knowledge. But, how do we go about that? Well, it’s different for everybody isn’t it. No two people are the same and neither is our faith. We cannot all follow the same path.  And that’s  what makes discipleship so exciting.  Yes, it is. For me, what I think is amazing about Christianity, is hearing people’s stories. Often people come to faith from different places and that impacts how their faith works. For me, I was raised a Christian. From a young age a read the bible and learnt about God. I knew a lot of it in my head but it wasn’t till much later that it resonated in my heart. That it became heart knowledge. For me faith wasn’t found in dust old books, although I read a lot of them at Theological College, but in spending time with others. Encountering God in the day-to-day outside of church on a Sunday.  But, what could that look like? For me it is nature. I love walking and can often find God more in the hills than in my study. If I can pray and walk I am at peace. God is different for everyone though.

Faith is different for me I didn’t’ come to church as a young person and the way I have connected with God has been through finding different ways to pray at different times. I came to faith when I was 18 and I definitely believed that everyone had some magic formula to prayer and faith and it took a long time to realise that God is in the everyday. That how I connect to Him can be in the everyday. … Yes, we are all different. All our stories are unique and as we think about discipleship we need to be willing to adapt the practices of others to help us develop and grow.  We need to improvise.  You know I love improvisation. As a drama student and wanna be jazz musician there is nothing better than improvisation. But what could it have to do with our discipleship? Well, Helen Cameron, who is chair of the Northampton District of the Methodist Church, suggests that as disciples we are called to be playful both in our witness and our discipleship.  Oh, that makes sense it’s like when you let a toddler loose with paints in the garden.  Kind of, but a bit more structured. Cameron writes: ‘It is playful improvisation when play means meaningful and purposeful thought and behaviour that has patterns but no prescribed our predetermined outcomes.’ Yes, you need to be given the tools. That’s what we do with 5% of our time in church and then we take those tools into the world and improvise. Yes, it isn’t exactly like the toddler in the garden. More like the musician outside of the music lesson. We practice the skills we learn in church and use them in a way which works in our day-to-day lives. So we need to be creative and imaginative with the tools we are given? Yes, that’s it.  The question seems to be: what can we do in our every day lives which can connect us to God?  Yes, but before that, we need to ask what are we missing in our lives that mean we are not connecting to God. Yes, and that is what this podcast will be about. Each episode we are going to take a theme and look at what it can show us about discipleship and offer some simple take aways that we could use in our day-to-day lives to connect more with God.

There is another question though.  Really? Yes, and it is one which is very specific to our current time.  You mean like now, at 7.50 pm, when we are recording this? No, I mean in 2021.  Oh, and what’s that? What does discipleship look like in a digital world? Yes, that makes sense. I suppose we could say we are spending 100% of our time outside of church and there must be lessons that are specific to that. There are, but I also wonder why we have been so fearful of technology in the past? I wonder if we have been?  We haven’t got models that seem to sustain our faith.  But, what about all the work we have done this year. Yes, and that has been wonderful but could we go further? I think we may be getting side tracked from the issue.  You may be right, but as we think about our whole life discipleship we need to think about what life may look like in the future and what role technology can play in that.  Is that why we have recorded a podcast? In part, but also I think “hybrid church” will be a thing for a lot of people because it helps them connect with faith in ways they could not before. Yes, like the lady in Neston who couldn’t face sitting in a pew but can worship from the comfort of her own home.  Yes, and I am sure there are many more who have been excluded from worship who are now a part of our church.  I see what you mean. Maybe we should think about how the pandemic has effected us?
Segue


The pandemic has pushed us to think more and more out of the box when it comes to our faith. We have lost so many of the ways we used to do “church” and our own discipleship has become even more important.  Yes, and I suppose there will be a temptation to just jump back in when things go to normal? Exactly, and yet there are so many things we can learn from the pandemic about our faith.  Maybe we will value the scattered and gathered times we can spend as Christians more.  I certainly hope so! I also think it has prompted us as a church to think more about discipleship. Yes it has.  Should we maybe tell people what our focus will be this series? I’ll be impressed if they are still with us.. Yes, but I am sure they are. They listen to us at other times! I guess so! This series we are going to look at the interplay between health and faith.  Yes, we are going to use your experiences in theology and your experience in pharmacy,  to look at how we can use our whole lives to worship God more fully.  That sounds amazing! Should we start now? Well, I think we have discussed a lot this week. So maybe we should leave it there? On a cliff hanger Not on a cliff hanger no…
Outro


We have learnt so much in fact that I just don’t want people to go away frazzled!  Okay, okay, maybe I have got a little over excited! Yes, but that’s what our faith should be like.  Exciting! and creative. That’s what we’ve talked about today, isn’t it? Yes, we have learnt that our discipleship is about more than the 5% of time we spend in the church building.  It’s about how we spend the other 95% Our time in church should equip our faith outside of it  Yes, and we should approach faith in a playful way.  It’s not about a formula or set of rules . Instead it is about connecting with God in a meaningful and purposeful way. That’s so important, especially while we cannot go to church. Or church isn’t exactly what we expected it to be. We need to be willing to connect in new ways.  Exactly, and that is what we will be looking at in future episodes.  So, what are we exactly looking at in future episodes? Well, the next episode is all about health and the gospels. We are going to explore together the dynamic and creative ways Jesus demonstrates connecting healing and faith.  Great, that sounds interesting.  What can the listener do in the meantime though? Well, they could become part of the journey.  And how would they do that? Well, if you have been inspired or intrigued by what you have heard today why not subscribe to the podcast on whatever streaming platform you have used to listen today. Also, make sure to sign up to our mailing list and also check out journeyingfaithfully.comWe cannot wait to continue the journey and we hope you enjoyed today’s episode.  Thanks for joining us on the journey. 

Journeying Faithfully Podcast Trailer

Healing and Disability- Series 1, Episode 5 Journeying Faithfully

In this episode we have two fantastic guests; Fr. Mark Turner and Rev'd Vanessa Layfield. Using their wealth of knowledge we explore in this amazing conversation what healing and disability can mean to us in our own faith journey. We look at everything from the bible to personal experience. The following references were made in this episode: Accessibility Audit: https://www.chester.anglican.org/outreach/disability-and-inclusion/accessibility-audits/ Chester Diocese, Disability and Inclusion: https://www.chester.anglican.org/outreach/disability-and-inclusion/ Disability and Jesus: https://www.chester.anglican.org/outreach/disability-and-inclusion/ Disability Awareness Service https://www.chester.anglican.org/news/disability-awareness-day–12-september.php Nancy L. Eisland (1994), The Disabled God Philip Yancey (1990), Where is God when it hurts: https://philipyancey.com/where-is-god-when-it-hurts Vanessa Layfield's email address: vanessa.layfield@chester.anglican.org Show notes can be found: https://journeyingfaithfully.com/series-1-episode-5-healing-and-disability
  1. Healing and Disability- Series 1, Episode 5
  2. Healing and the Eucharist- Series 1 Episode 4
  3. Bonus Episode: Mental Health Week
  4. Healing and the Gospels
  5. Whole Life Discipleship: Faith, Improv and what to do with the 95% of time when we're not in church

Journeying Faithfully Podcast

Our podcast came about because we want to connect more people to their faith in new and creative ways. We want to use everyday life, from health to family, to explore what is happening out there, what does the Bible say and tentatively suggest new ideas.

Each new podcast will appear on the podcast page, with show notes and where to find and hear the latest from us.