Wednesday 28 August 2013

A short account of when we took a Free Healing shelter to One Love Festival, August 16th to 18th, 2013.

We turned up in the deserted arena Friday lunchtime, the first worry was getting our tickets and traders wristbands all sorted, especially when security turned up and wouldn’t let us out of the arena without wristbands let alone in! Eventually, the mix up with our wristbands was resolved when the Reike healer next to us realised that she had been given too many.

By 5pm we had set up camp, had a late lunch and set up the healing shelter in the Healing and Chill Out zone. We were ready for the crowds.

Healing is what our banner said, but we were not trained therapists (although we were trained). Still we relied totally on another source. We had to admit, either God had to show up and do the stuff or this was going to be a bit of a farce.

The doors to the arena were opened and the crowds came in whilst the band played Bob Marley’s One Love. Celebration was in the air. People were instantly drawn to our shelter, although more so by the “Free” sign than the Healing sign.

“Free? I like the sound of that” they would say. “You don’t see that much around here”
They were no doubt thinking of the campsite’s hot showers that were advertised on the website. The organisers had forgotten to mention that you had to pay £20 for a weekend pass.

More and more people stopped to enquire.
“What kind of healing is it?”
“It’s spiritual. We heal in the name of Jesus.” We would say.
“Oh, so you’re Christians”
“We’re followers of Jesus”
Perhaps, people expected religion, but we wanted to make it clear that this was not the Christianity they might have known.
We were here to heal, to do what the sign said. That had to be clear. We weren’t going to hand out hymn books.

But this was the challenge. Our experience of healing or attempting to heal wasn’t very helpful although we knew that God could and would heal. Our faith was weak, but it was about to get stronger and stronger as time went by.
The first encounters were uneventful. People came and went feeling “much the same”

One girl came with her sniggering friends telling us that she had a bad skin problem on her feet. We prayed for her, she went away without feeling any different, but we could only believe that the prayer of faith would bring her relief.

However, as time went on, more people showed an interest and came in to the shelter. It was amazing to see such a mix of people of all ages, races and people of every faith and none, coming to see what was going on.

As the evening wore on, the party was in full swing. The healings began to happen, both physical and unseen.

A man came in to the tent with a strong west country accent. He was a labourer. The years of heavy manual work had taken it’s toll on his back and shoulders and he told us of the constant pain and tension. He was cynical but desperate for something and agreed to give it a go. He looked like he needed physiotherapy, but we were not masseuses and we could only give him what we had, Jesus.

And so we laid our hands on his back and began to speak, commanding healing in the name of Jesus.

After a few moments. His face lit up with excitement and he stood up expressing his joy with a stream of positive expletives. He told us that the tension had lifted and for just a moment there he had felt it lift completely. We asked to continue, but perhaps the “awesome” ness was too much. He left grateful saying that he would bring all his mates. We could definitely see a visible change to his posture.

Moments like this became more frequent as time went on.

A girl with a historic injury in her knee told us that she found it painful to run. After the prayer she ran and jumped across the arena and back excited at the unusual absence of pain. She came back several times over the weekend to express her gratitude.

A girl who had had an operation on her lower spine told us how the coral that had been placed in her spine to replace the bone had come loose and was causing her great pain. After we prayed she said that she felt something happening in her back and she walked away excited that the pain had gone.

And so it went on, people with chronic back problems, shoulder pain, knee trouble, long term injuries from road accidents, carpal tunnel and a boy with a broken foot... would all profess to either partial or complete healing after “prayer.”

The best thing was to see the look of surprise on their faces after we prayed. It was equally surprising for us and it never grew old. We knew who to give thanks to for these amazing things, knowing that the power came through us not from us.

But it was not just the physical need that was met. Some people would approach the shelter with the words “I need healing”

To them it meant something more than physical. For these kind of needs we were unable to help directly, but we knew someone who could. We invited them to come and meet their Creator who cared about them.

Some, would tell us about their broken relationships and the hurt that they still carried.

One young girl said how she had felt the anger leave her as we prayed.

Finally, one of the highlights of the last day was our encounter with John (not his real name) a man in his 50s wearing conservative dress. Perhaps not the type that you would expect to see at a music festival.

He dropped by at one of the quieter times that Sunday morning. After we explained what it was about he said the all familiar line “Well... maybe you can heal me”
He told us that for a long time he had had chronic back problem which always came on towards the end of the day particularly after a day of walking, standing and sitting. He told us of the agony he would suffer some evenings as payment for his activities.

One of us put their hand over his back and commanded the healing to take place in Jesus name.

We asked him if he felt a difference. He told us that he would have to test it out. He wouldn’t know until later when the pain would normally set in.

The rest of that day was fairly quiet, until the evening when the last act began to play on the mainstage filling the arena with some heavy electronic dub. People that we had encountered dropped by to say goodbye as the sun was setting and the last few hours of the One Love Festival 2013 were in full swing.

It was about this time that our friend John with the chronic back turned up. The look on his face said it all. “Normally, by now I would be in agony, but...”

“... not a twinge!” He exclaimed. It was wonderful to hear but not just that, it was seeing a man who had becoming so aquainted with suffering over the years knowing for the first time, real hope and real change.

Of course, none of the healings had, as yet been medically proven with doctors certificates but we weren’t there to prove anything, only to show that people were loved by their Creator, who cared about them and just wanted the opportunity to express it.

Everyone would have their own personal experience of that love and it was up to them to decide what it meant.

However, for us, it was the beginning of something new and exciting. We left full of gratitude and humbled that we had been given this opportunity to be followers of Jesus, doing what he did. Simple.