Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Laying on of Hands & Anointing for Healing

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:13-14)

“Sacramental healing is traditionally called “unction,” defined by the Prayer Book as “the rite of anointing the sick with oil, or the laying on of hands, by which God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind, and body” (BCP p. 861). In Ministry with the Sick, healing is offered for any who feel the need for specific healing of spirit, mind, or body. While all Christians stand between the fullness of the baptismal gift of grace and the final consummation of that grace—and thus all are in need of healing—the sacrament is usually offered in response to some particular need or concern.” (Enriching Our Worship, p. 21)

The holy oil used to anoint the sick is pure olive oil, blessed by our bishop during Holy Week. Unlike the chrism used for baptismal anointing, no fragrance is added to oil for the sick because some fragrances can be allergens or aggravate an illness.

On the third Sunday of every month, all are invited to come to the altar rail for the laying on of hands & anointing for healing. God is always at work in us and the Holy Spirit is present to bring God’s healing grace upon us. Whenever we ask for it, healing happens! This does not mean we will be cured of our disease, or that everything will work out all right, although that might happen. It does mean that God is alive in us and healing will take place, at this moment or over time, because God desires that we be whole.

Come before the altar and lay your heart to the Lord and you will find God’s healing presence there.

1 comment:

indigogirl17 said...

Thank you for your piece on the laying on of hands. Could you direct me to other sources on this tradition in the Episcopal Church?