What Does Salvation Have To Do with Healing?
Updated: May 19, 2022
Dear Kaleid Friends,
Good morning! We hope you are well today!
As you know, Kaleid’s summer theme is “To Be Made Well.” We’re grateful for Amy Julia Becker’s book by the same name that is guiding our reflections. (Don’t miss our two-part book club in June and July. Amy Julia will be joining us remotely for one of our meetings!!)
To be made well.
Something or someone entering our story, making us well.
The hope of this statement holds a few implicit realities. First, we are not well. Second, we are incapable of doing the making-well ourselves. Finally, wellness is a creative force, something that may even take the slow road of creative growth. To name our desire to be made well is to hope bravely.
Congratulations for courageously nurturing hope. For naming a desire to be made well.
Where do you long to experience healing? Perhaps in your body. Maybe you feel worn out by your pain or diminished by your physical limits.
Or maybe many of us would answer that question at a level other than our bodies. We might long for family healing or for mental and emotional healing. We might long for healing in ruptured friendships or with relational patterns that we cannot seem to understand or make work. We might long for healing in our worlds—words like race, abortion, war, and sexuality conjure up very real personal and corporate pain that we know needs a wholeness that is not ours to create or offer.
And so, stating that we believe in a God who is our Healer is a big thing.
What gives us permission to say that God is our Healer? Where does that come from?
Glad you asked! Can we take a semantic turn for a second?
Thanks. (And a gracious good-bye to anyone who is done reading at this point!)
The Greek word for salvation is “sozo.” It means to “save, rescue, deliver, keep safe, preserve, cure, make well.” It is derived from a word for “safe.” The word appears in the New Testament over 100 times.
When you hear that word, save next to the word God or Jesus, what comes to your mind? Eternal salvation? Soul salvation? Heaven? Payment for sins?
But the word is much, much rounder and much, much richer than that. It is a holistic word, meant for our bodies and our souls, our spirits and our communities, our dysfunction and our disappointments.
Jesus describes his ministry of “sozo” in a healing and rescuing and safe-making sort of way.
Luke 4:17-19 says this:
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
He said all this. And then he did it. In real time. On earth as it is in heaven.
John’s disciples asked Jesus if he was the one they should be expecting and his answer in Luke 7 is sozo-oriented. “Jesus both defines and defends his own ministry by saying: ‘healing, healing, healing, healing, healing, and some preaching. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. That’s why I’m here.’”
Here’s a question. It’s sort of personal and maybe a bit tender, but worth thinking about.
If you were to think about salvation as being more than a purely spiritual transformation—if you were to think about salvation from God as including rescue, preservation, cure, healing, and safety in this present world as well as in the life to come, what would that do to your conversations with God? Your questions to God? Your faith and your struggle before God? Your honesty and your hopes about God?
This being made well thing, this salvation that Jesus brings, seems to be an invitation to consider God’s offer as more than heaven or forgiveness or redemption.
And so, we will enter into Mark 5 over the next few weeks together as we take up three healing stories about Jesus and three gifts God gives us to promote our healing. The next six weeks will be good, and rich, and hopeful. And they may just invite us to go to the mat with God in new ways and be emptied and filled by what happens in the struggle. They may just invite us further into our journey of being made well.
We’re excited to be together. And we’re grateful for you!
The Kaleid Team
P.S. If you’d like to join us for our Contemplative Prayer Circle where we will be using Mark 5 as a doorway into prayer about being made well, we would love to have you! The group started this morning, and we’d be so thrilled to have you with us for any of the upcoming five Wednesday mornings at 6:30!
If you are looking for ways to make sense of what racial healing could look like in light of yet another racially-motivated shooting, consider the wisdom in this podcast from David Bailey.
Or, if you are looking for ways to make sense of what it looks like to be holistically pro-life, you might enjoy this thoughtful reflection from Tish Harrison Warren.