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Person-centered

He saw a great throng; and He had compassion on them and He healed their sick
Matthew 14:13-21

Sermon Topic Healing

Sermon Week Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 14:14

Keywords

A preacher well-known for his moving sermons, was on a big jet plane crowded with passengers. In mid-flight the pilot announced that because of mechanical difficulties he was going to make an unscheduled landing for repairs. When the plane landed, the passengers disembarked, with instructions to return in two hours. At the appointed time, the passengers began filing back into the aircraft. One of them apparently had spent most of the time in the cocktail lounge. He staggered into the plane, obviously quite drunk, and began to make slow progress down the aisle. As he neared his seat, he spotted the preacher. Pointing to him he said in a loud voice, "There is one of the great preachers of our time." Then, collapsing into his seat, he said, "His preaching has changed my life!"

Preaching has its place, but preaching in itself does not change people's lives. Good preaching can offer insights. Good preaching can spark emotions. Good preaching can impart knowledge. But genuine change in people's lives takes place on the level of healing.

"Life Line International" (also known as "Contact") is an organization founded on the belief that ordinary people can be trained to care and to heal. It has built a vast network of telephone workers in cities all over the world. Twenty-four hours a day the telephones are manned by trained volunteers who receive calls from people reaching out for help, reaching out for another human being who will really listen to them, reaching out for another human being who will really identify with their problem, reaching out for another human being who will relate to them on the level of genuine concern. The model for this ministry is Jesus Christ. Therefore, the volunteer training (which is extensive) emphasizes that this ministry is person-centered; that it is the relationship that counts. It is within this context that preaching and lecturing and passing judgment are forbidden. The volunteers are trained to overcome the temptation to "preach to" by developing the willingness to "listen to," thus giving the hurting person all the space in the world to talk. [...]

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