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Hymns of Healing Hymns of Healing
BY STACY SMITH
June 13, 2010

Inspired by three scripture passages, I have written new hymn lyrics to tunes that are familiar in many Christian traditions. Each hymn looks to a passage on healing, and it's my hope that these new words enable us to think differently about scripture, as well as our understanding of health and healing.

Christ, Heal Me Twice
Words by Stacy Smith
Tune: Finlandia

This hymn began with a strange and overlooked passage found only in the Gospel of Mark. In Mark 8:22-25, we read the story of a miraculous healing with quite an outcome. Jesus heals a blind man, and after he touches the man’s eyes, the man says that he can see people – but these people look like walking trees! Jesus tries again, and this time the man is restored to full vision. We are left to wonder why Jesus had to perform two healings. Was this a mistake by Jesus? Or was Jesus demonstrating something deeper about healing?

Christ, Heal Me Twice interprets this text through the perspective of the blind man. Specifically, it reminds us that healing is not a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Jesus continues to offer us healing and health over and over again. The hymn also speaks to the sadness and depression that often accompanies poor health. Depressed people often look to a distant past and remember a happier, healthier time. Christ, Heal Me Twice tries to remind all those who are hurting or sad that the healing is not over, and we can look to a promising and healthy future in our relationship with Christ.

Christ, Heal Me Twice
Christ, heal me twice for I still cannot see you.
Reach out your hand and touch my eyes again.
The world seems strange! The people move in shadows.
My sight is dim; what I see is untrue.
Christ, heal me twice! I long to see life clearly.
Restore my sight, that I might follow you.

Within my life, I’ve known the truth of vision,
And I have seen your world with clearer eyes.
Yet now a veil of darkness hovers round me,
And for my eyes, there’s nothing to be done.
Christ, heal me twice and once again remind me
That in your love, my life has just begun.

Christ, heal me twice and make my eyes to shine bright!
Show me the path to follow in my life.
Your loving power will bring me out of darkness,
Renew my soul and shower me with light!
And though I know the future is uncertain,
I trust in you, my God, my Hope, my Sight.

Loving Jesus, Living Body
Words by Stacy Smith
Tune: Beach Spring

Paul uses the metaphor of the “body” in his letters to the Corinthians, Ephesians and Romans. In the most famous passage,1 Corinthians 12, Paul explains the different spiritual gifts that are given to each person in service to Christ. He likens these different gifts to different body parts that have a variety of functions, yet come together to make up an entire and whole body.

No matter the condition of our bodies, each of us has a unique and specific calling. Even when our bodies are broken, unhealthy or damaged in some way, Paul reminds us that we are still gifted for Christ’s work in the world. As the hymn suggests, feeling unworthy, or forgetting, or neglecting your call is not the same thing as being unable to physically do it. This is Paul’s point - that we rely on others to build up a whole and healthy body, and that we must bring our unique gifts to the body. Otherwise, the Body of Christ is incomplete.

Moreover, Paul says that we are also called to honor the ministries of others and to encourage the spiritual gifts of all of God’s children. We remember that, as Paul said, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” This is true of our both our bodies and our spirits. We are called to honor our own bodies and bring our gifts to God’s service, and we are also called to encourage and care for the gifts of others. In singing the hymn Loving Jesus, Living Body, we sing in celebration of our bodies, and praise the Church and the uniqueness of our ministries.

Loving Jesus, Living Body
Loving Jesus, living body,
every member with its call.
In the Spirit we are summoned,
bearing gifts of one to all.
If the ear should seem unworthy,
or the eye forget to see,
or the hand neglect its mission,
we, the body, cease to be.

Should we move with the same purpose,
then where would the body be?
As it is, we’re many members,
living God’s diversity.
In the whole of all creation
each is giv’n a gift to share!
Find our own gifts, and each others:
this our calling and our prayer.

When one member lives in suffering,
we are called to raise our voice,
and when one is loved and honored,
our response is to rejoice.
So the weak are loved and cherished,
and the strong are charged to show
greater honor to each member
that together, we may grow.

Now we each are of God’s body
Both uniquely and as one.
So we’re called to share the Spirit
‘til the work of Christ is done.
In our church, our lives, our service
show our bodies how we may
strive for greater gifts, and seek to
live the more excellent way!

An Open Plea
Words by Stacy Smith
Tune: Song 34 / The Angel’s Song

The refrain for this hymn draws from Mark 7:34, in which Jesus heals a deaf man who was unable to speak. The scripture says, “He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, ‘Ephphatha!’ which means, ‘Be opened!’.” At this command, the man’s ears are opened, and he can both hear and speak. This passage might remind us of the times in our lives when we or people we know do not experience miraculous physical healing. Some remain deaf or blind, and these stories of miraculous healing can bring us hope, yet at times also foster discouragement.

Therefore, this hymn asks for God to open us in many different ways and places: in our lives, our work, our homes, and our world. It recognizes that physical healing is important, yet honors our need to open all of ourselves to the healing power of Christ. While the title “An Open Plea” references a legal term, this hymn reimagines how we may be open to Christ, and gives us an opportunity to plea to God for healing in all corners of our lives.

An Open Plea
Refrain: Ephaphtha! Jesus, open us!

Open us all, our very lives
Not just our hands or ears or eyes.
Turn to us now and hear our cries:
Refrain

Open our home, our living space.
Inspire us to create a place
Where are can refuge in your grace.
Refrain

Open our work, the daily grind!
Shine through our labor that we find
Work that is humble, just and kind.
Refrain

Open our world, make hate to cease!
Guide safe our efforts to increase
Mercy, forgiveness, joy and peace.
Refrain

Open ourselves that we may be
Vessels of love! Together we
Lift up our prayer, this open plea:
Refrain

Find two other hymns on wholeness at the ELCA Board of Pension Live Well section>>



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MUSIC AND HEALING

Hymns of Healing by Stacy Smith

Grace-filled Music: Q&A with Bill Mallonee

I Want to Hold your Hand by Susan Palwick




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