What does it mean to say that “health begets health?” This was the topic for our National webinar for Vineyard Canada on February 24, 2017. In a webinar co-led by David Ruis and me (Beth Stovell) with guests Michael Raburn and Caleb Maskell, leaders visiting with us from Vineyard USA, we unpacked and explored as a community the complexity, depth, and richness of this idea.
From the start our call was focused on the Holy Spirit as the one who births health in us. Joyce Rees opened our call with a prayer dating back to the ancient church fathers in the 600s A.D. as we asked the Holy Spirit to come and join us. This beautiful prayer helped to focus us on how the Holy Spirit––comforter, guide, well spring of life and renewal––shapes what it means for us to seek health as a movement. We live in a world teeming with busyness, stress, anxiety, and depression: What would it look like to ask the Holy Spirit to come in the midst of all of this and make us well?
This became a key part of what I shared when I told my own story of health. In one of the darkest places of my life, where health felt lost in so many ways, God began a journey with me towards health and wholeness. God longs for us to be well: a holistic wholeness that touches every part of our lives, our church, our society. The question is: Do we want to become well? How does becoming well then allow us to speak in places of rest and peace for others?
David’s talk on the interrelationship between humility, mercy, and justice explored the ways we live out health in our church and in the world around us. A rich conversation ensued about how we can describe health not as a “win,” but in the midst of our weakness. Rejecting the model that health=power, we explored the idea that health looks like honesty and vulnerability, allowing God to be our strength in weakness and God to become our wholeness.
Mike Raburn picked up on some of these themes in Haggai 2. Mike spoke of the spaces where Israel struggled and lamented as they returned to the Promised Land after the exile. They looked at the temple and cried because it wasn’t like they remembered, but God promised that He had more for them: more of His presence, more of His glory, more of His Spirit poured out on them.
Caleb Maskell targeted this belief that health is only a story of victory, showing how the story of Rocky with its cliffs and valleys is a reflection of our journey. God often may lead us down to a valley when we are at a high point into some new difficulty that we will need to overcome, but that is part of what hospitality to the Holy Spirit looks like.
Steph Antonio ended our session with sharing a vision she had of us all on a bus that was moving, but that bus was actually a traveling hospital. Getting healthy may mean caring for those along the way who are sick. In fact, all of us are in need of our Great Healer, who seeks to transform all of us!
I left the call feeling encouraged and excited! I asked myself: what will be born in a new way when our “health begets health?” When our movement toward vulnerable wholeness gives birth to more vulnerable wholeness, what new life will emerge for us?