Bring healing, bring peace

Christ healing the woman with a flow of blood.
Detail of stained glass window, St John the Baptist , Peterborough
Copyright Julian P Guffogg and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

Another short chant from Sing Praise today, this time not from Taizé but from John Bell and Graham Maule. ‘Lord Jesus Christ, lover of all, trail wide the hem of your garment, bring healing, bring peace.’

The suggested use of the chant is as a response to intercessions in a church service. Intercessions usually include prayers for healing, often of named individuals. We believe that Jesus, though no longer present in the flesh, is present in spirit and knows the people whom we pray for by name. The reference to ‘the hem of your garment’ in the chant is presumably to the woman whose long-standing problem with a flow of blood (maybe period problems, as some commentators suggest) was healed by merely touching the hem of Jesus’ cloak, and he knew it.  He may not have known her personally, but the mere fact that she had faith enough to reach out to him was enough for her to be aware of her need, and to meet it instantly.  That is the level of faith that we are supposed to develop in praying for others.

‘Bring healing, bring peace’. Healing and peace belong together, both being elements of the concept of ‘shalom’.  Where physical pain or mental distress are healed, there is a sense of peace.  And when we pray for peace in the world, perhaps for a particular area of conflict, we are also praying for the healing of prejudice, hatred and resentment.   So whether our prayers and for a close friend or a faraway country, we can use this chant to bring them to Jesus.

1 thought on “Bring healing, bring peace”

  1. In Morning Prayer this morning I used the chant as a response to intercessions, and it does work more broadly than just for prayers for people’s healing. I transposed it up a semitone (from D-flat major to D major) as I find it too difficult to play in five flats and sing at the same time, and I did experience some frustrations about some of the details of the harmony.

    But I find it a bit odd as a prayer, because of course in the incident Jesus didn’t “trail the hem of his garment” as any kind of invitation to people to receive healing – on the contrary he was shocked and jolted by the discovery that “power had gone out from him” to the woman who touched his robe. It wasn’t that he became aware of her need and decided to heal her – rather, the healing took place despite Jesus’ lack of awareness until afterwards. I wondered if we ought to be praying for more faith instead (perhaps in the Tony Phelps-Jones song “Give me faith, more faith!” style)? Nevertheless the song still works.

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