October 30, 2021

Hope and Expectation

After signing the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990),
Pres. George H.W. Bush hands UCC Pastor Harold Wilke the pen.

I am the Lord who heals you.

Exodus 15:26
Harold Wilke was ordained a pastor in 1939 in the Evangelical & Reformed Church (which in 1957 became part of the United Church of Christ). This was no simple ordination, because it happened despite the objections of many. You see, Rev. Wilke was born without arms, and many thought his perceived disability would make serving as a pastor impossible.

And yet, Wilke's ministry thrived. One of his life's missions was creating a church that was open to all, despite their physical abilities. One of his sermons, delivered in 1986 at the Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix, inspired another pastor—Dosia Carlson—to write the following hymn:

We yearn, O Christ, for wholeness and for your healing touch; 
too long have we felt helpless; our burdens seemed too much. 
Forgetting all pretenses we make our pleadings heard, 
in hope and expectation await your gracious word.

We long to have companions who travel by our side, 
strong friends to call and answer with whom we are allied; 
as we lift up each other when struggles lay us low, 
community develops; our faith and caring grow.

We need your living presence, O Christ of Galilee, 
a presence that revives us and sets our spirits free. 
No longer are we fearful, your love pervades each place. 
Empower us with courage to claim your healing grace.

As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
 Luke 4:40
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Heal me, hands of Jesus, and search out all my pain; 
restore my hope, remove my fear, and bring me peace again.
 Michael Perry (1982)
✙ 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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