When as a young man, I lived in Sydney, there was a healing service operating each week in St Andrews Anglican Cathedral in the CBD. It is still happening. To my knowledge the practice of divine healing occurred there before it had become a common place feature of many charismatic churches. The merit to my mind is that in St Andrews church culture the basis of one’s life in God is not the gifts or the healings but our achieved union with God as celebrated in the eucharist.
RIVERS OF LIVING WATER
When the Lord’s Table is celebrated as the core of Christian life it places Christian life where it belongs – not as a belief system or a religious routine but as an ordinary life in union with God where one is a channel of living water into normal affairs.
The advantage of Christ our life, to use the words of Paul is not that is merely virtuous. The power inherent in it is that it brings the life, love and joy of the trinity in us to bear in our ordinary life – which means that ordinary life becomes what it is meant to be since the cross: The arena of the new creation.
HEALS US/HEALS CREATION
The healing power of the incarnation of the living Christ is that it makes people alive with the life of God. People become enlarged in the completeness of Christ, so that we live as genuinely whole persons rather than in the narrowness of some perspective that is legitimate, yet not the whole picture.
PARTS ARE NOT THE WHOLE
Leanne Payne expresses this thought well when she writes. “It seems the lot of fallen man that, Christian though he be, he is exaggerating some truth of the gospel at the expense of another, or that he is falling away from some part of the truth altogether. In regard to the matter of spiritual power, the truth is that historically the people of God have seldom comprehended the “divine energy and power,” as well as the authority with and in which they are to move. This is in spite of the fact that the truth is plainly spelled out in the Scriptures and in the history of the Early Church.” (1)
This is why the presence of Christ is truly healing and why Christ come in our flesh is the reality we should covet and live in, since it is ours already.
There is no doubt that healing and signs are still advertisements for the Living Christ. But the gifts and the signs in a charismatic bubble is not a thing in itself. The Kingdom is the effect of the reconciliation wrought by the cross. Rooted in oneness with God it operates as intended. By itself charisma has no root and ultimately fades because as a thing in itself it is not the Gospel of the Kingdom.