On March 11, 2020 a California mega-church canceled its “faith healing” hospital visits, citing the coronavirus. While the practicality of this decision is understandable, and perhaps can be called prudent, it does appear to a watching world to be ironic.

The decision of the local Church also provides an opportunity for the congregation to seriously examine the sincerity of its core faith beliefs. “Do the pastor and people really believe in faith healing”? Or, “Do the people merely have faith in faith?”

It is easy to have faith when it costs nothing, and no risks are involved in a course of action. It is more challenging to have faith, and to practice what that implies in the face of difficulties and danger.

The Bible teaches that authentic faith, true faith, is so rare and difficult. Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

One of the chief characteristics of true faith is that it will risk life itself to minister to others, being driven by love.

Princess Alice was born in 1843, the third child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her name was chosen because Lord Melbourne, the former prime minister of England had expressed to Queen Victoria that it was his favorite name.

Alice was always a loving, caring, and compassionate child. She was called the family caregiver. Living up to her title, Alice cared for her dying grandmother, and then her dying father in 1861. She became her mother’s unofficial secretary, and emotional support, following the death of Albert.  

Despite her responsibilities as a care giver, on July 1, 1862, Princess Alice decided to marry the minor German Prince Louis of Hesse, heir to the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The marriage would prove to be a great struggle, ending in great sadness.

In 1863 the first of the couple’s children was born. Victoria arrived while Alice was attending the wedding of her brother, the Prince of Wales, and Alexandra of Denmark. By 1874, the couple had seven children; Victoria, Elisabeth, Irene, Ernest, Friedrich, Alix and Marie.

In May 1873, a terrible tragedy occurred when the youngest son, Friedrich, fell from a window and died. Then, by November 1878, all but one of Alice and Louis’s children had been struck down with diphtheria. Diphtheria (Greek, leather) infects mucous membranes of the throat, causing formation of a thick layer (called the false membrane) that can obstruct breathing and producing a potent toxin that enters the bloodstream causing damage to the heart and nervous system.

Four-year-old Marie died from the disease on the 15th November 1878. With one child taken by such a dreadful illness, and four others still suffering from it, Alice was heartbroken and wrote to her mother that “the pain is beyond words”.

Sadly, the tragedy did not end there, as Alice contracted the disease herself.  Alice was trying to console Ernest, who was sobbing in uncontrollable grief over the death of his sister. With a mother’s tender heart of compassion, Alice touched her son, took him in her arms, and kissed him. In that kiss of love, Princess Alice sealed her own death warrant. She died just after 8:30 AM on December 14, 1878, the anniversary of her father’s death. Her final words had been “dear papa” (web: History of Royal Women).

Kisses from Calvary

The Bible speaks of another person who embraced death because of His great love for His people. Allowing Himself to be kissed by the traitor, Judas, Jesus went to Calvary where mercy and truth met together, and kissed.  “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10).

The truth is that “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). The truth is “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Nevertheless, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).

The truth is that God showed mercy to sinners at Calvary. Is it any wonder the Church wants to sing of the compassion, and disposition to kindness, and forgiveness, of the Lord?

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever,
I will sing, I will sing.
What a mercy that I am in the church, forever
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord.

With my mouth, will I make known,
Thy faithfulness, Thy faithfulness.
With my mouth, will I make known,
Thy faithfulness to all generations.

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord, forever
I will sing, I will sing.
What a mercy that I am in the church forever

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord.”

The mercy of the Lord is free to flow when truth is known. Righteousness and peace are free to embrace in love. Those who are willing to forsake sin, and follow after righteousness, find peace with God, and know the peace of God which passes all understanding.

Let the word go forth. There are kisses of Calvary for every sinner. Jesus Christ will touch the spiritual leper, and He will taste death for every man (Heb. 2:9).  The deadly virus of sin will not stop the Lord Jesus from ministering to those who need Him most. Faith in Christ brings healing of the body, soul, and spirit, for time and eternity. Receive the kisses of Christ from Calvary in this very hour, and be healed.

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