I belong to a very financially poor church, which is blessed with richness of fervent love for the Lord and has many parishioners and clergy who are spiritually gifted in healing. I have witnessed what is medically impossible, and I am currently witnessing the psychological healing of my husband whose childhood was beyond brutal and who has carried his terrible pain with him his entire life. This decision on the part of the church to become a healing church was certainly not motivated as a gimmick to make our little church more popular or prosperous, but the clergy, seeing that this church has been consistently gifted in this manner, wished to focus on what seems to be a clear calling from the Lord. We are in all a very quiet congregation, but we also are open, loving, and accepting especially of those who are broken in mind, body, and spirit. Christ once said something to the effect that it was those who were sick that needed healing. He made this comment in response to being rebuked for dining with tax collectors and other despised person's of the society at the time. When I first went to my current home church, I felt welcomed and comfortable and like I had finally found my way to where I needed to be. My sickness was my sin and my new church was a house of healing - the house of the Lord. The church that I recently attended for over a year prior to being led by the Spirit to my current home church, had very strict rules about who could actually become a full member. This required sitting before a panel of elders and clergy to be examined. They were looking to exclude people from church membership who they considered unqualified by their stringent standards. I was free to attend services, but without their approval I would not attain a church membership or get the coveted mailbox I wanted that everyone else seemed to have. That silly mailbox is how I found out about the whole membership thing. I finally had to leave because I knew that there was no way that I could pass muster. I am a sinner, have been a sinner, and although I strive through God's daily guidance to sin no more, I am imperfect - certainly much less perfect than the congregation of that one church I had to leave. That church is a beautiful large new building, has a large congregation, a sophisticated music program, and are by all indications, doing quite well financially. They have a very strong Biblical base for their sermons and I appreciated the fervency of their convictions. It just didn't work out for me because in their view I was a pariah. In my opinion, it is their right to cast out from among them people that they view as immoral or not living up to the standards set by their conscience or by their interpretation of the Bible. Whether it is RIGHT or not is another matter. I leave the answer to that question up to God. I am neutral in my opinions lest I be judged. Each week I attend worship at my now home church to ask forgiveness for my shortcomings, to pray for strength, and to ask the Lord to help me live without sin. I am unworthy - an unworthy sinner. This is the whole reason that Jesus was sacrificed in a manner so horrible and cruel - it was so that the likes of sinful humans like myself could be forgiven our sins; so that we can hope to be children of God rather than his enemy. I still sin - I slip and fall and find myself in despair and remorse having to approach God with a broken and contrite heart begging forgiveness. If not for Jesus, how would I even begin to ask for forgiveness? I would have no intercessor. Thank you God for giving us Your only Son so that we unworthy sinners may be saved. So, my little old church in the trees down by the riverside may not have financial riches or meticulous membership qualifications, but it is rich with the healing spirit of God through Christ. I thank God for our material poverty if this means we have richness of spirit. And now, God be praised, we have realized that we possess this most wonderful gift of healing. Thank You Lord for these priceless blessings. Amen.