Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sermon, National Week of Prayer for the Healing of HIV/AIDS


John 9, Balm in Gilead                              Lent 4                                 March 10, 2013

Spirit of Hope, Detroit, The Rev. Matthew Bode


           The prophet, Sam Cooke, has said, “There been times that I thought I couldn't last for long, But now I think I'm able to carry on, It's been a long, a long time coming, But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.” Today is a serious day. Today is Balm in Gilead Sunday. And we are here today in the spirit of the thousands, the millions who have died from AIDS. Those who have come before us, whose names were never even spoken by their families for the shame they felt. The sadness, the preventable tragedy that the world, the church, stood by and has watched as a bystander, often times without compassion, much less a sense of justice.
            Before we get into all of that. Before we understand all of these issues. Before we get too heavy, let’s recognize that a change is coming. Can we say this? As Jesus walks to the cross getting closer to Good Friday, a change is coming. God is intervening, and the spirit is even entertaining good news. Some hearts, and I am not saying enough hearts now, but some hearts are beginning to melt. Some parts of the church are becoming somewhat less blind. I know it’s not a high measure of success, but a change is coming.
            Drugs, medications, are transforming lives and the way we look at this disease. Cures and vaccinations are not here, but perhaps one day. Gay people, disproportionately affected by HIV, once completely ignored or oppressed in this world, are in some areas receiving some equity in how they are treated, and how they live in society, and even in a handful of churches. A change is coming.
            We are slowly, but surely, beginning to talk more about sex, and safe sex, even in our own churches. We are beginning, even if just a little bit, to treat the disease as the enemy rather than the person with the disease as the outcast.  A change is coming. We have recognized the scripture and held it close. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10) “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.”
            In our bodies. The life of Jesus may be visible in our bodies. Our imperfect, sometimes fragile, always perplexing, water-based bodies. The life of Jesus is visible in our bodies. Whoa. Afflicted, persecuted, struck down, bodies show us the life of Jesus! Blind bodies.
            I hope you heard this story from the gospel today. The disciples see a blind man on the side of the road. And being the curious students of theology and Bible that they are, they asked Jesus a question, the question asked by every three and four year-old since the beginning of time. Why? Why is this man blind, Jesus? And then they qualified it, like good church folk do. I know you caught this. Is he blind because he sinned, or because his parents sinned? See, we may think that is silly, but that was the world view of the time. God, in their mind, created all affliction, all disease, all, or at least most, bad things that befall a person. So there must have been a reason that this man was born blind. He was blind, so he must be a sinner. They were not blind, so they must be righteous. And Jesus answered, no. This man was not born blind because of anyone’s sin.
            Let’s ask that question in a different way: Jesus, why does this person have HIV? Is it because he is gay or because he is a drug user? In what way is he different from me, that I might have no responsibility to care about him, that I might know that he is a sinner, but I am not?
Has anyone here ever had it all figured out before? I mean, help me out. You know exactly what God is doing in your life. You are faithful. You have good sense about you. People even tell you that you have good sense about you. People like you. They come to you for wisdom because you have good explanations about how the world works. You have good experience. You go to church, and you are a good church person.
            Everyone in this gospel story, with the exception of Jesus and the man who was born blind, is a good church person. They know how this is supposed to work. The man is blind because of a sin, and he is getting what he deserves. I am not blind, therefore I am less of a sinner than he is. Everything makes sense. Everything is in its proper order. You belong here, I belong here. We have a structure. Let’s stick with it. We can be comfortable. We don’t have to question anything. Life makes sense.
And then this Jesus, this wandering preacher/teacher/healer person who claims to have the authority of the Son of God, helps this blind man to see. And the whole order is completely messed up, jacked up if you allow me to be vulgar this morning. I won’t go further than that. Things don’t make sense anymore. The man who was born to be over there, is now over here and I don’t know how to deal with that.
And, hopefully we have enough humility about ourselves to say, there’s nothing quite like a good church person who just had their realities questioned. “But, you belong over there, and I belong over here. What do you mean this Jesus brought you over here? You were a beggar. You sit on the ground. Covered in dust and dirty. In fact, I cannot even believe that is you. You cannot be one of us. You are a sinner. I am a good church goer. We cannot be together. We have never done it this way before.”
            Our church has never let those people in here before. We have always understood those people to be dirty, sinning, disgusting people. They don’t belong. They certainly must deserve their plight. We need to keep them away from us so we do not get touched by their sin. Those sick people. “Then I go to my brother And I say brother help me please But he winds up knockin' me Back down on my knees.” Ha, and right then and there, Jesus walks into church, right down the center aisle, and says, “A change is gonna come.”
            About thirteen years ago I spent a month in Tanzania. It was my second trip back there, but this time was different. A seminary classmate and I were going to spend some weeks living with and learning from caregivers and patients who were living with HIV or AIDS. We stayed with a service agency of doctors and nurses, all Tanzanians. They operated their own non-profit because at the time there were very few government hospitals who would deal with AIDS patients in a compassionate manner.
            One particular day I was doing home visits with one of the nurses. We would visit patients, walking several miles a day around the city of Morogoro, and see how they were doing. Usually we visited women because the men were too ashamed to seek treatment or help. There, like here, those with HIV are often treated like they have a social disease as much as a physical one. At the time I was pretty good with my Kiswahili, and so my nurse companion, who had quality relationships with all of these patients, had me lead some of the medical questioning. I would ask and she would listen to and follow the responses. One of the most important questions is finding out how people are eating. So I would ask them how their stomach was feeling.
            Now, in Kiswahili the word for stomach is “tumbo.” But I didn’t use that word. Instead of tumbo, I would say tembo. Now, they sound close, but they don’t mean the same thing. All day, I would ask people about their tembo, and they would laugh. Even if they were not feeling well in their stomach, they still laughed. See, tumbo means stomach, but tembo means elephant. So all day I was asking all of these patients if their elephant was hurting. Where they able to keep food in their elephant. So later I asked the nurse why she did not correct me. And she replied that everyone was having such a fun time with it, why mess that up?
            Imagine the possibility, of instead of judging one another, striving to categorize one another, we decided to laugh with one another. Instead of trying to determine someone else’s sin, we worked to keep ourselves compassionate. What if, just throwing this out there now, the church was the first place to talk about sex in a healthy, real way instead of the last? What if the church was the first place that tried to be honest instead of the place that tries to sweep everything under the rug. What if we good church people were the first people to show God’s love, and we did it instinctively. No committee meetings, no love the sinner hate the sin, dishonest, ugly platitudes designed to make us feel good about discriminating against other people, keep order but still keep people out. That phrase, “love the sinner and hate the sin,” is about the most ugly church phrase that has ever existed. We put the word love in it to hide our spite, fear and discrimination against those we label “sinner.” That’s not real love. What if we actually decided to love each other fully for who we are, no conditions?
What if we became a part of the change that’s gonna come instead of fighting against it? Part of the body of Christ instead of striving against him. Loving and embracing his people rather than stepping on them. Recognizing that Jesus’ love for all people includes you. And if it includes you, you have no reason to be jealous, hateful, spiteful, exclusive or even rude to anyone else. What if we knew that a change is gonna come? That in the cross, all things will be transformed. The outsiders become the insiders. The haters become the lovers. Death becomes life. Struggle becomes hope. Dark nights become bright days.
            Jesus told us that a change is gonna come. And then he showed us. His body became a place of healing. His touch brought people together. And it does still. Hold onto the cross, sisters and brothers. Be transformed. Be healed. It’s already started. A change is gonna come.  

12 comments:

nelly said...

Hello my name Nelly am from UK I give thank to a great doctor who help me out of my illness I was very sick I thank god who use this man to help, it started when i travel to Florida for visit there I meet a lady not knowing to me that she HIV positive I really like the lady because she was beautiful I always see her every moment I close my eye I went to tell her how I feel for her but I don’t know if she know that she HIV I went to bed with her I contacted the virus too when I get home for month my doctor come to check on me and he discover that I have HIV he was shock and tell me I was so confused and so surprised to hear that I was taking HIV drug to cure it for good a 2year I decided to look for cure them I meet this post on internet I contacted him for help… well Dr Camala proving to be a great man and he heal me.. According to him he said is the power of his gods well I thank god am back again if you need cure for your HIV…you can still contact him or his email or number I promise he is 100% he cure any virus like T-VIRUS HIV AID ROTA-VIRUS, SMALLPOX, HEPATITIS B contact him now dr.camalahivadscure@yahoo.com or visit him at http://diseasecure.webs.com

Linda said...


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Deborah said...



I will says to the world to celebrate this great testimony with me, i never believe i can eve get rid of these horrible disease one day. My story and thanksgiving goes to Dr Olorun Oduduwa the powerful man who help me to CURE MY HIV-AIDS disease from my life. I dont know how to say this to everyone, Dr Olorun Oduduwa is a truthful man with high herbs power's he uses to save people's life. Last few days i came in contact with Dr Olorun emails on the internet which people gave much testimonies about his kindfullness work. So i decided to contact him quickly because this disease was almost on the last step of taking my life from me. I have tried all my steps on life to get heal but nobody could ever help apart from Dr Olorun who finally help me to cure my hiv disease from me. I always amaxed and overwhelmed when the doctor comfirm that i am now healed from aids, and i now i am an HIV-AIDS NEGATIVE PATIENT. I wish anyone who is sick today and wants a healing please i will kindly advice you to contact this man called Dr Olorun Oduduwa now at: hivcurecenter@gmail.com
I live in Germany, called Maxwell Brooks. to get this powerful healer full article and trust on his origination and references please visit this below website now at: http://weeblyalishaluraspell.weebly.com/available-spells.html
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Deborah said...

I will says to the world to celebrate this great testimony with me, i never believe i can eve get rid of these horrible disease one day. My story and thanksgiving goes to Dr Olorun Oduduwa the powerful man who help me to CURE MY HIV-AIDS disease from my life. I dont know how to say this to everyone, Dr Olorun Oduduwa is a truthful man with high herbs power's he uses to save people's life. Last few days i came in contact with Dr Olorun emails on the internet which people gave much testimonies about his kindfullness work. So i decided to contact him quickly because this disease was almost on the last step of taking my life from me. I have tried all my steps on life to get heal but nobody could ever help apart from Dr Olorun who finally help me to cure my hiv disease from me. I always amaxed and overwhelmed when the doctor comfirm that i am now healed from aids, and i now i am an HIV-AIDS NEGATIVE PATIENT. I wish anyone who is sick today and wants a healing please i will kindly advice you to contact this man called Dr Olorun Oduduwa now at: hivcurecenter@gmail.com
I live in Germany, called Maxwell Brooks. to get this powerful healer full article and trust on his origination and references please visit this below website now at: http://weeblyalishaluraspell.weebly.com/available-spells.html
questske into

Alsiha Evans said...

i want to thank the great hivcurecenter@gmail.com that help me cure my hiv/aids sickness, i was suffering from hiv/aids and i have been to different hospital for cure but there was no doctor who could help me cure my sickness but they only recommend some drugs for me that can be be use to reduce the pain, i was seriously tormenting and serching for some one that can help me cure ,my sickness until i found a testimony online that someone shared about Dr Ogbefi on how he help her cure her sickness, but i thought it was a joke and scam but i said let me just give him a trial, so i contacted this great spell caster and told him my problem that i am going though, this man gave me some herbs and directed me on how to use the herbs and he told me to use it constantly for two weeks and said i should go to hiospital to confirm his work to see if i cazn still find my sickness there. i did as he ask me to do, and immediately after the 14th days i quicky rush to the hospital to check my hiv status, for God was so kind to me, my hiv status that was POSITIVE became NEGATIVE, I thought it was not true i went to three different hospital to check but i could not find my sickness there again. i am so happy and free, i will say that Dr Ogbefi is the best spell caster for everyone to contact intense of problems and solution. please kindly contact Dr Ogbefi on his email address now; hivcurecenter@gmail.com cause he is the best man i have ever come across. dr sir i will forever share this testimony till death do me apart cause i will never forget this great thing that you do for me, indeed hivcurecenter@gmail.com

Linda Moore said...

Happiness is all i see now I never thought that I will live on earth before the year runs out. I have been suffering from a deadly disease (HIV) for the past 3 years now; I had spent a lot of money going from one places to another, from churches to churches, hospitals have been my home every day residence. Constant checks up have been my hobby not until this faithful day, I was searching through the internet, I saw a testimony on how Doctor Shapsonclayy helped someone in curing his HIV disease, quickly I copied his email which is indianmeications@gmail.com just to give him a test I spoke to him, he asked me to do some certain things which I did, he told me that he is going to provide the herbal cure to me, which he did, then he asked me to go for medical checkup after some days after using the herbal cure, I was free from the deadly disease, he only asked me to post the testimony through the whole world, faithfully am doing it now, please brothers and sisters, he is great, I owe him in return. if you are having a similar problem just visit his website on http://indianmedicationcenters.webs.com/

Tanya Albert said...


Dr. Ekpiku God will continue to bless you more abundantly, for the good works you are doing in peoples life, I will keep on writing and posting testimonies about you on the Internet, I’m Tanya Albert, I was a HIV patient, I saw a blog on how Dr. Ekpiku cured someone, I contacted him and also got my healing, kindly email him now on ekpikuspelhomeofgrace@gmail.com or ekpikuspelhomeofgrace@hotmail.com email me on tanya.albert58@yahoo.co.uk. THESE ARE THE THINGS Dr. Ekpiku. . HERPES . HIV/AIDS . CANCER...

Janet Johnson said...

I am Janet from USA You must be very careful here,I have lost over $6,500, dollars to different people hoping my hiv illness will be gone,I try and try but they all fail me,I got affected with this sickness 2 years ago when I went to Uganda and since then life has mean nothing to me I have taken thousands of drugs but my situation still remain positive,Until I saw on a site how Mama peace Help cure HIV for one south Africa lady so I decide to give the last try.When I contact this woman Mama peace she told me all i will do is to pay for the items needed so she can arrange me a native cream and liquid substance which i will use for 6 days,But at first I was scared because of my past experience.Then the next day I have a feelings that I should give her a try and I actually send her the money and I got the package and did as she said then the 7th day i went to check my status and the doctor said I am negative I was short of joy and could not believe it..i did the same text again and still negative Now I am free from HIV please if you are out there looking for real HIV cure then Mama peace is the one because many here are nothing but scam her email contact is mamapeacesolutionhome@gmail.com Or WhatsApp On:+2348054265852.....
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Olivia Phimzile said...

Hello" thank God for the wonderful healing spell power which Dr Camala render to my life which oracle support, i was been diagnosed with HIV-AIDS over 7years now which has lead me to unemployment and loosing my relationship with my fiance after he heard that i am suffering from the VIRUS, i tried begging him to allow me stays with him, but he still insist on letting me out of his home, until a friend of mine on facebook from SOUTH AFRICA told me more about Dr Camala the great healer, that he is going to help restore and healed my diseased with his powerful healing spell, she send me of Dr Camala email address and i quickly contacted him, and he replied to after 30mins of my message that my disease is a little and minor disease, that he will solved the disease immediately only if i can accept all he requested from, i told him yes, because truly i know that " HIV-AIDS IS A WICKED AND DEADLY DISEASE I EVER KNOWS ". so i did all he want from me and surprisingly on friday last week DR Camala called me that my problems is solved that i should hurry up to the hospital for a checkup, which i truly really did, i confirm from my doctor that i am now HIV- NEGATIVE AND NOT LONG +, I jump up and was crying heavily because truly the disease drive alot of things away from my life, my friends, my cousin, my fiance and relatives, but now since i was confirm NEGATIVE- my lost friends and fiance has been back to me begging for forgiveness, i have forgiven them and now we are now best of friend. again i will say to Dr Camala that he is blessed and may the almighty God which i serve raise him and his family to the higher level in life. Thank and god bless. Please email DR Camala for healing and solution now at = dr.camalahivaidscure@yahoo.com

JOHNSON KATE said...

I'm here again to appreciate. DR WILLIAMS God will always continue to bless you more abundantly, for the good works you did in my life, I will always keep on writing good and posting my testimonies about you on the Internet, I’m KATE from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was tested HIV positive, I saw a blog on how DR WILLIAMS cured people with his herbal portion, i did not believe but i just decided to give him a try, I contacted him and also got my healing, i am so happy. If you have any problem or you are also infected with any disease, contact him Drwilliams098765@gmail.com for advice and for his product,i hope this testimony also help some one out there

Mellisa Thomas said...

I am here to give my testimony about a doctor who help me in my life. I was infected with HIV virus in the 2012,i went to many hospitals, churches for cure but there was no solution out, so I was thinking how can I get a solution out so that i cannot loose my life, I lost everything I have my husband run away from me and also took my children along because of my sickness. One day I was in the river side thinking the next step to take if it is to jump into the river so that I can loose my life totally or just think where I can go to get solution. so a lady walk to me telling me why am I so sad and i open up all to him telling her my stories, she told me that she can help me out that’s the reason she normally come here to help people so that thy can be cured because she was into this problem before, she introduce me to a doctor who cast spells on people and gave me his number and email so i called him and also email him. He told me all the things I need to provide and also give me instructions to take, which I followed properly. Before I knew what is happening he called me and told me that i should go for an HIV test and which i did as he told me and the result was negative. so if you are also heart brokened and also need a help you can also email him at dr.camalahivadscure@yahoo.com OR call +2349055637784