We at Christ Church have the wonderful practice of celebrating the Sacrament of Healing (Anointing) once a month during the Sunday Eucharist. Our celebration of the sacrament is a visible sign of God’s healing grace working in and through us.
Like most sacraments of the Church, the Sacrament of Healing ideally takes place within the context of a service for Holy Communion, prior to the reception of the bread and wine. For once we are forgiven and healed, then we are fed and strengthened by Christ’s Body and Blood. That is why each Eucharistic liturgy concludes with the doxology “Glory to God” for we rejoice that Jesus’ life-giving grace has restored and elevated us to the Glory of God. Therefore, rather than administer the anointing after communion, we will now administer it before the sign of peace and the Eucharistic Prayer.
While all are invited to share in this sacrament, it is generally understood that persons who are in need of either spiritual, emotional, or physical healing come forward for the anointing with oil. While you are free to ask the minister to pray for a specific intention, there is no need for you to do so. You may simply sit or stand before the minister in prayer as she or he anoints you with consecrated oil.
Again, I am grateful we celebrate the Sacrament of Healing. In the coming months I would like to discern with you extending the celebration of anointing to lay ministers. All of us, by virtue of our baptism, are called to be a priestly, royal, and prophetic people. As such, the Anglican Church of Canada invites baptized and confirmed members to consider, with the guidance of their parish priest, whether or not they are called to serve in the ministry of healing. Over the coming months I will share more about this wonderful ministry, whereby lay ministers visit and anoint, and share communion with members of our community who are unable to join us each week.
-Rev. Don Beyers, Rector