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Lesson Plan: Adult

Access to Health Care: A Biblical Study for the Christian Community

Prepared by the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Ohio

1. Open with prayer.

2. Introductions - 5 minutes

3. Identifying the issues - 7 minutes

Share this opening statement:

God's intention of health - shalom - for the earth and its people, and Jesus' promise of abundant life - health, healing, and restoration to wholeness in body, mind and spirit - are central dimensions of the faith we profess and the vocation to which we are called as Christians. It leads the list in the order of service through which we participate in God's activity through the church's life for others by: healing and reconciling and binding up wounds ministering to the poor and sick, the lonely, and the powerless, engaging in the struggle to free people from sin, fear, oppression, hunger and injustice, giving of itself and its substance to those who suffer, sharing with Christ in the establishing of his just, peaceable, and loving rule in the world (Presbyterian Book of Order, G-3.0300).

The health of a society is measured in a very important way by the quality of its concern and care for the health of its people. How provision is made for children in the dawn of life, the elderly in the twilight of life, and the sick, needy, and those with disabling conditions in the shadow of life are clear indices of the moral character and commitment of a nation . . . We are painfully aware that (the) vision of health for all is not a reality in our communities, in our nation, or in the world we are called to serve in Christ's name. "Life Abundant: Values, Choices, and Health Care: The Responsibility and Role of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)" 1988 General Assembly

Today/tonight, as followers of Jesus Christ, we will consider one of the aspects of the health crisis we face: access to health care.

Pose the following questions. Invite responses. Have recorder record answers on newsprint. [Keep this section brief. It is intended to be evocative rather than exhaustive. Brief statements would be best. Debate or discussion should be limited.]

  • What concerns are raised by our current system of providing health care?
  • What does our current system of providing health care do well?

4. Turning to the Bible - 20 minutes

Pose the following question. Invite responses. Have recorder record answers on newsprint. [Keep the discussion moving, but allow dialogue.]

  • What Biblical images provide insight into how a system of healthcare might be shaped?

[HINT: One way to ensure coverage of the entire Bible would be to divide into four groups: Psalms/Wisdom; Prophets/History; Epistles; Gospels. Each group could take five minutes on their area. The groups would then report to the larger group. Passages from the list provided could be assigned to smaller groups.]

5. The Bible Shapes Our Thinking - 15 minutes

Put the following question on newsprint. Allow people to answer. Answers can be general themes or principles or specific elements. Have the recorder record answers.

  • In light of the Biblical insights, what kind of health care system would we like to see . . .?"

6. The Role of the Church - 7 minutes

Share the following statement about the historical role of the church in the area of health care.

Healing and wholeness always have been at the very center of the church's life. Through the centuries, the church has engaged in ministries related to health and healing. The church functioned as hospice. Missionaries with medical and teaching skills gave immense sacrifices of time and resources. Hospitals and clinics were started. Hospital chaplaincies, counselors, and clinical pastoral educators were developed. Crisis support ministries and alcohol and drug abuse programs have been started. Congregations have held services of healing. Prayers are said for healing. Health fairs are sponsored. An essential element of wholeness is wellness: making choices about our living and behavior which impact positively on our health. The church recently has begun to focus attention on this critical aspect of health. In these and other ways, the church has sought to live out our faith in the area of health and healing.

     Pose the following questions. Invite responses. Have recorder record answers on newsprint.

  • What do you see as the role of the church today?
  • How do you see the church becoming involved in issues of health and healing today.

7. Wrapping up - 3 minutes

     Pose the following questions. Invite responses. Have recorder record answers on newsprint.

  • Do you know people who are working on this issue in some way?
  • What are some of the avenues available through which persons may work on this issue?

8. Close with prayer.

Pass out copies of the prayer and lead the group in unison prayer: By your power, great God, Jesus Christ healed the sick and gave new hope to the hopeless. Though we cannot command or possess your power, we pray for those who need to be healed. Close wounds, cure sickness, make broken people whole again, so that all may live to rejoice in your love. May we welcome every healing as a sign that, though death is against us, you are for us. Teach us to care for ourselves. Guide us to care for one another. Help us design systems based on compassion and justice. Lead us to live our faith. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

9. Thank the group for participating.


Written by: Dr. Karl Hess, the Rev. Mark Koenig, the Rev. Catherine Borchert, Ms. Merdine T. Morris, the Rev. June Begany for the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Ohio. This study may be reproduced and used in church settings provided it is not sold. For other uses, contact the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Ohio at 216/241-3966 or info@preswesres.org.

Written by: Dr. Karl Hess, the Rev. Mark Koenig, the Rev. Catherine Borchert, Ms. Merdine T. Morris, the Rev. June Begany for the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Ohio. This study may be reproduced and used in church settings provided it is not sold. For other uses, contact the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Ohio at 216/241-3966 or info@preswesres.org.

 

Written by: Dr. Karl Hess, the Rev. Mark Koenig, the Rev. Catherine Borchert, Ms. Merdine T. Morris, the Rev. June Begany for the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Ohio. This study may be reproduced and used in church settings provided it is not sold. For other uses, contact the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, Ohio at 216/241-3966 or info@preswesres.org.

 

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