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The healing touch of Jesus

Deep down in my soul runs a favourite hymn which we used to sing frequently in Nelson Cathedral when I was Curate. The congregation had a passion for it, and sang it with thoughtful sincerity. (Evensong has always been my favourite Sunday Service.) The hymn is based on Mark 1:32+.

At even e’er the sun was set,
The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;
O in what divers pains they met,
O with what joy they went away!

This speaks of the transforming power of Jesus, a work which we know took much energy, but which He did out of great compassion.

Once more ’tis eventide, and we
Oppressed with various ills draw near;
What if Thy form we cannot see,
We know and feel that Thou art here.

The mind-picture of Jesus in the first verse becomes the reality of the present. We too have needs which we may ask our Saviour to deal with.

O Saviour Christ, our woes dispel;
For some are sick, and some are sad,
And some have never loved Thee well,
And some have lost the love they had.

The last line in this verse is very sad: I feel deeply for those who have moved away from Christ. Yet there is still hope for them.

And none, O Lord, have perfect rest,
For none are wholly free from sin;
And they who fain would serve Thee best
Are conscious most of wrong within.

None of us in the Family of Jesus is perfect. (Why do some people think we are smug and self-satisfied?) And the nearer we are to Him the more we are aware of what hurts Him.

O Saviour Christ, Thou too art man;
Thou hast been troubled, tempted, tried;
Thy kind but searching glance can scan
The very truths that shame would hide.

A truly personal verse. We can hide things from others, but our Lord sees and knows.
The wonder is that He sympathises. And He holds the key to our future.

Thy touch has still its ancient power;
No word from Thee can fruitless fall;
Hear, in this solemn evening hour,
And in Thy mercy heal us all.

This verse speaks of hope; we can be confident of the transforming power of Jesus today! Alleluia! I know I always used to feel cleansed at the conclusion of this hymn. We all did.

The world will survive the present viral attack. New Zealanders will once again breathe freely. The healing power Jesus uses today comes to us through our medical people, our hospital equipment, our researchers and scientists, our Government’s decisions, whether or not they know it. Thank God for that. But just as Jesus wished for those He healed in Galilee that they would look beyond His physical healing to His moral and spiritual transforming power, so today He yearns for the renewal of a closer walk with God in our community as a whole. Let this be our prayer today.

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