By Rev. Greg Moore
“When man (sic) came first out of the hands of the great Creator, clothed in
body as well as in soul, with immortality and incorruption, there was no place
for physic, or the art of healing.” John Wesley, Primitive Physick, or An Easy
and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases
Mr. Wesley’s best selling work wasn’t a compilation of his sermons. Arguably, the
Wesleyan message that had the most impact in his day wasn’t one that he gave
from a pulpit or even one that would have been found in the Religion section of
Barnes and Noble.
His little book, Primitive Physic , which he originally authored anonymously, Wesley
attempted to make medical care (a luxury of the rich) accessible to the masses. It went
viral and sold more copies than anything else he ever wrote. It is a little ironic that one
of our best preachers’ best sellers isn’t explicitly about God, at all.
That’s not to say that it isn’t deeply theological. Every word of the book drips with the
baptismal belief that the God we meet in Jesus is in the work of incorporating
(embodying) mighty acts of salvation (healing). Every sentence is a crumb collected
from the table which proclaims that any news isn’t good until it proclaims that God
heals the sick, feeds the hungry and eats with sinners.
Wesley’s theology always had the whole person, the whole community, the whole
creation in mind because it’s all God’s.
That’s what we mean when we say, “holistic mission.” Holistic mission is about
continuing that inheritance that is ours as the children of the Wesleyan movement. Our
care for people, place, and things is never easily divided into, “spiritual” or “physical”.
Our mission work is never just to care for souls or bodies. Once God sent Jesus in the
flesh, God’s mission became an eternally embodied spirituality.
What does that look like in action? Over the next four weeks, the New Room Society Monday posts will focus on stories and examples of God’s holistic mission taking flesh among us. This is our humble offering to the God who, for our sake, was humbled into a body and healed us from the inside out.