Each time she passed that door, Julie’s hands ached with the need to soothe and stroke. She sought comfort in the warmth of the prayer group, but was a largely silent admirer of the flowing, passionate outpourings of its members. She was even somewhat in awe of her friend Anne who travelled widely in the surrounding areas, preaching and exhorting in bible study groups and women’s meetings. Anne’s sensitivity to the Spirit was remarkable. Julie had several times been present when she had diagnosed the cause of a sickness or sadness, apparently without any prior knowledge of the case.

One Wednesday evening, before she could ask for prayer, Julie noticed a tingling sensation in her hands. Submitting this experience to the group for judgement, she found to her amazement a general agreement that she had ‘healing hands’. Now thoroughly confused, she turned to Anne, who was back with the group on one of her rare home visits.
“But…but, I…I know, th…that’s what I want to do, but I c…can only t…touch. I could never p…pray as you do, Anne. ”
“What about your aromatherapy?” asked Anne in surprise.
A familiar urgency crossed Julie’s forehead. “Th…the Studio’s been c…closed for a month … b…because of the oils!”

As the story emerged, Anne comforted her friend. Most of the women pronouncing against aromatic oils were themselves users of expensive perfumes. That kind of superstition was unnecessary.
“Besides,” she smiled, “You’re in good company!”
“Wh…what do you mean?” asked Julie.
Anne opened her Bible and read aloud, “James 5:14-15: Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord…”
Julie smiled with relief. Anne was so clever!
“All you need to do,” Anne reassured her, “is to banish any satanic influence and sanctify the room.”
She made it sound so simple. Julie dared not ask, especially in front of the other women, who were once again nodding wisely around her diminutive figure, exactly how to go about this.

Driving home that night, Julie searched her memory for a precedent. She remembered the Exodus, how the Hebrews had smeared the blood of lambs on their doors and lintels so the angel of death might spare their firstborn. It seemed a radical gesture. She went to bed with her mind in turmoil.

Following the Lord →

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: