Gospel Medicine is the title of a book written by Episcopal Priest and Preacher, Barbara Brown Taylor. It is full of her marvelous sermons. But you don’t even have to read the book to get something out of it. The title alone speaks volumes: Gospel Medicine.
Gospel medicine. The phrase captures succinctly what our life in Christ is all about. Everything we do in the body of Christ is meant to proclaim healing and wholeness to ourselves and to the world.
Gospel medicine begins, very often with words. First we hear the words of good news in the stories of our faith, and in our worship. Then we try to speak the good news words ourselves, clumsily at first, as we try to articulate something about what God is doing within us. And eventually we live out gospel medicine. We perform it: through communities of support and learning, and by our many acts of service within and outside the church.
Gospel medicine doesn't work quite like other medicine. While regular medicine generally does its thing, and then passes through our system, gospel medicine lingers. It gains potency over time. It becomes a part of who we are, incorporating itself into our spiritual immune systems.
When I was in my early twenties and in a particularly intense phase of my spiritual journey, a dear friend and mentor prayed a scripture over me. Like many young adults I was terribly uncertain about my future, what I should do with my life, what sort of person I would become... Into this tumult of worry, my mentor gave me these words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “For I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will be faithful till completed.”
As I repeated that phrase to myself, it became a kind of mantra. I recognized that God was at work within me. That something good had begun, and that even if I made mistakes, even if progress was slow — God would always be faithful to the good that was unfolding. It was gospel medicine, delivered at just the right moment in just the right dose.
Years later, I learned that Paul was not addressing an individual, but a community, the Philippians, in that passage. The proper translation is more like “I am confident that the one who began a good work among you, will bring it to completion.” And I was reminded that God is faithful, not just to our own individual transformations but to the transformation of our whole community.
In the midst of this uncertain time, when so many of the plans we made lay fallow — when the dreams we dared to dream rest dormant — perhaps we could all use a dose of gospel medicine. So remember: the One who began a good work among us, and within each and every one of us, will be faithful to completion.
God is with us, guiding us to become something beautiful and a blessing to others. My brothers and sisters, we are apothecaries of grace. Let us offer to one another gospel medicine in this place, and in the world God loves. Amen.
Grace and peace,
The Reverend Kathy Rock Pfister,
Every Member Canvass
If you have yet to make a pledge commitment for 2021 but are planning to financially support Christ Church Cathedral this year, please know that there is still time to make your pledge online, over the phone, or via email. We are so grateful for the continued support of the Cathedral’s mission in the year ahead!
Ways to make your pledge:
- Pledging online is easy.
- Return the pledge card you received by mail to 1117 Texas Ave, Houston, TX 77002.
- Make a pledge over the phone at 713-590-3338 or by email by contacting Karen Kraycirik, minister for stewardship.
Ways to pay your pledge:
- Go online to make an electronic payment via credit or debit card. You can also set up recurring payments via this form.
- Donate using PayPal via the Cathedral’s website: christchurchcathedral.org/give/
- Text the word “Give” to 888-998-1634
- Send a check to the Cathedral address: 1117 Texas Street, Houston, TX, 77002.
- Make a gift of stock or securities, using our stock donation instructions.
Learn more about this year's EMC at: christchurchcathedral.org/emc