For the Healing of the Nation

As the rollout and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has begun, issues of health care and health insurance have been topics of much conversation and scrutiny. Who should be covered, what services should be provided, and who should be paying for it? With hold-ups and shutdowns in Congress and the notorious problems with the website, many are pitting principles against efficiency, ethics against effectiveness.

As people of faith, what impact should the traditions of Scripture and theology have on the way we approach the healthcare debate? As Presbyterians, what does our history of health-related missions and ministries have to say to the way we approach these questions? Is healthcare a human right? How do the current systems in place affect particular vulnerable populations – and how is the Church called to respond? How, through our interaction with the healthcare system and the public debates concerning it, can we worship and witness to Christ the Healer and to the vision of God’s Kingdom of Shalom?

In the Book of Revelation, John describes his vision from God of a new heaven and a new earth, a new holy city of Jerusalem through which flows the River of Life. On either side of this river that runs through the city, John sees the tree of life, whose “leaves are for the healing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:2) If we take seriously God’s promises of healing and restoration for all nations and peoples, where does that leave us as we approach systems that seek to promote the healing of our own nation?