Such a Measure of Faith
By Blair White of St. Clairsville, OH, USA
“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.” —Matthew 12:18–21 NRSV
Some years ago doctors diagnosed my dear friend Curtis with a rare form of cancer. He was only in his 30’s. Not liking the treatment and prognosis offered by doctors in the U.S., he opted for alternative treatments in Mexico. To do so he left his home in Dallas and rented an apartment in California for his every-other-day commutes across the border.
Unlike many of our friends, Curtis and I grew up in homes where religious and spiritual life was a daily practice. He came from a tradition that still had all the answers and I from Community of Christ. This made for interesting conversations in which we learned we could disagree but continue to love and respect each other.
In my wish to spend time with Curtis during his illness, I asked if I could spend a week with him in California. He welcomed my visit and asked if I could fly to Dallas and drive his car out to him. For me the trip then became not simply the movement from point A to B to C or a simple visit, but was much like a pilgrimage. I prayed as I drove to the airport, on the flight, and on the last, long stretch of the journey.
One evening after my arrival, I asked him what he was feeling about God in all this. What if the treatments were not successful? Even though he had not actively pursued his faith for some years, he said, “My greatest concern is the pain and loss my wife and family will suffer. As for me, if I honestly believe what my faith has taught me, if I am authentically Christian, it matters not if I live or die. Either way I am a winner.”
I was awestruck and moved at such a measure of faith. In those circumstances I don’t know if that would be my response, even though I hope it would be. As we continued our discussions into the night, it felt right to introduce and offer him the sacrament of administration for the sick. He gladly accepted, and the experience moved us both. In Christ’s name, we found hope.
Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, with you we are winners. Winners of souls, winners with compassion. We win love from others as we share love with them. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Spiritual Practice: Intercessory Reflection
Sit quietly with your eyes closed as you enter intercessory reflection and prayer. Ask God to bring people who need prayer to your mind and heart. Be open to images of the people or spiritual insight into their needs. Listen for signals from their lives and let the depth of God’s love for them become powerful and real to you. Write, speak, or think a prayer of blessing and healing for these much-loved disciples and friends. Ask God to help you see ways to affirm and support them when you meet them in daily life.
Today, God, it matters not where I am, as long as I am with you.