What Has OSL Done for Me Lately?
I just finished reading for the second time The Healing Reawakening by Francis MacNutt. It’s the book that started my journey into Christian healing. After that, I was hooked. The OSL Chapter near me was offering a course in healing ministry, so this woman who could barely pray a prayer aloud without a prayer book started devouring every book, taking every course, watching every video, attending every event I could find to get more, more, more of God. I was on fire for Jesus, and sadly it wasn’t the church that was fanning the flame. So I went looking for more wood to throw on the fire, wherever I could find it.
I’m sure that most of you reading this could tell a similar story of seeking more knowledge, then seeking more experience of the Holy Spirit. So this is nothing new to you. We belong to the same club.
I was blessed that there were people -- lay people and clergy -- in my denomination who were members of OSL, people who encouraged me to check out this healing ministry thing. What if that hadn’t been the case? I may have left my denomination in search of people I could minister with. In fact, I have done my share of church-hopping, and almost gave up on institutional church altogether when I couldn’t find people “in my club.”
Then the Lord whispered that perhaps it was I who should bring the club to the people. If I’m being honest, I can’t say that I’ve done a great job of that. But I keep plugging away at it, and the Order of St. Luke provides me with the tools and relationships to make this possible, just as it was there for me when I was hungry to learn.
What if there had been no OSL?
Francis MacNutt describes in his book The Healing Reawakening how over the centuries, the church has many times come close to losing the very core of Christ’s mission on earth – to heal and deliver. The first 300 years, it was expected that all Christians would have a Pentecost experience, but then it practically died out over and over again, and every time it came back to life, it wasn’t because of the “established” church. If anything, it was the established church, or what we have come to view as “church” in the western world, that squelched it… that ran it out of town… that did everything it could to kill this ministry that was the center of Christ’s ministry when He was on earth.
It’s shocking. But it’s true. Clergy in mainline denominations don’t usually learn about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in seminary, certainly not in any practical way. So… how are we timid laypeople supposed to learn about it if all we do is show up at church on Sundays? This is why establishing OSL communities is so vital!
I’ve had people tell me that they stopped being an active member of OSL, paying their dues, etc. because they didn’t see what OSL was doing for them. Well, it’s true that OSL doesn’t provide you with a building to worship in, as does the church you’re a member of. That’s the way many people view their tithing – as a kind of exchange. We give money. The church provides a “service.”
Well, I don’t see what supporting a missionary in Iraq is doing for me, but I send money because people are being clothed and housed and learning about Jesus. I don’t see what a donating to a food bank does for me, but there are people in my community who need food.
And at any given time, OSL might not be doing something for me either. But without it, some mainline churches might die of thirst for God. Many of them are holding on by a thread now. People aren’t finding what they are hungry for. Meanwhile, the Order of St. Luke is working tirelessly to provide training and opportunities for ministry for people all over the world. They’re helping to keep Christ’s healing ministry alive, sometimes even in a church!
So, if you have ever asked yourself “What has OSL done for me lately?” I invite you to consider where you and many others might be in their spiritual walk if not for OSL; and further, where the church might be if there were not a few people on fire for Jesus, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, fanning the flame.