Synode of the Diocese of the Rift Valley 2015

The spiritual meaning of remedies

 

Bishop Lupa invited me to speak about naturopathic medicine. As it is usual in Africa  first I want to introduce myself.

 

My family tradition

I come from a family with a long protestant tradition till the year 1450. Many of my family have the gift of healing like me. The Bible calls it a gift of the Holy Spirit. Many members are pastors, doctors or pharmacists.

After finishing my school I studied five years biology – the science of the nature – and theology at the University Heidelberg. After my examination I married a pastor and helped him to care for the members of our parish and our family. This is our tradition. Our protestant church has its root in the old monk´s tradition. Even the founder of the Protestant church, Martin Luther and his wife Katharina von Bora were primary monks. We are blessed with 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls. 3 of them are married and we have 6 grandchildren. Also I cared for the old and sick mother of my husband in our family.

My sister studied medicine at the university and she married a pastor too. They became missionaries in Botswana. He worked as a pastor and she a doctor in a hospital. She was the only doctor of a great district. After some years she became ill and they went home. Nobody in Germany could help her. This was a great problem because she had two children to care for.

 

For your information:

Relating to the world wide context you can differentiate between two big medicines. The most known is the academic medicine of the western world. It is studied at the university and is mainly a medicine of the rich countries. Especially the remedies are expensive. The second is the complementary medicine especially of (rural) poor countries like India, China and Latin – America. The remedies are cheap.

 

The academic medicine did not help my sister. So she made contact with the international complementary medicine especially the homeopathy. This medicine gave her health back. So she started to study international homeopathy and is now practicing this medicine exclusive. Homeopathy is an old international medicine. Till today It is practiced all over the world. You cannot buy it on a market only in pharmacies.

I studied this medicine too. I felt myself called not to help only my family but to heal officially. Therefore I needed a license of our government otherwise it is not allowed in Germany. So I had to go to a private school for some years and to take an examination in medicine. I got the license of our government to heal as naturopathic doctor. I have an own medical practice and teach in the church and at the adult education centre in Basel/ Switzerland. I was also teacher in high school and school for naturopathic medicine. My own teachers come from Europe, Israel, India, China, Canada, USA, and South America.

Topic

 

One year ago Bishop Lupa and his wife Devota visited us and took part in my lecture for our church. For that reason the bishop invited me to speak about an African topic.

The bishop told me about his family tradition and his grandfather. He was a traditional healer and wizardry. The Bishop as a Christian refuses his magic. But he made the experience that his grandfather was able to heel and help. But there are no notations left and so his knowledge has not been passed over to the next generations. When he met my naturopathic medicine he was interested in this topic for his diocese.

For my part I want to add: When you look at the world wide medicine you can say: African remedies are very popular on the world market. Their effects are researched by the big remedy companies and they are business makers not missionaries like Elisabeth.  They buy the plants very cheap in Africa, prepare medicine and sell it very expensive. Also in Germany we can buy remedies from plants which I discover here. For you it is only weed (Unkraut). If Africa does not want dumping its recourses the African church must remember the positive heritage of its culture.

The tradition of the old monks (monkhood)

 

The traditional African medicine is a very old medicine. So I ask you to share with me old naturopathic medicine. They do not basic on oral tradition but it is written for example in the great centers of worldwide old medicine: China, India or Greek. I also want to share with you the Ethics of the old Christian church and monasteries because here we find the eldest written Christian medicine we have. If we respect our past we can go forward to our future without fall.

The roots of the German church and medicine are in the tradition of the old monks and monasteries.

The tradition of the monks started in the 3th century. In the Egypt desert (Nitria, Kelia) a great Christian center of monastery had been formed. Some had more than 10 000 members. Some are existing till today (if the IS have not destroyed them).

Here is a picture of Mor Gabriel, founded in the year 397, in Turkey. It is an important centre of the Syric orthodox church. During the Armenian genocide in 1915 all monks were murdered. But five years later the monastery life could continue. 

Though the monks lived very desolate in the desert, they were connected with the whole former world by a network of trade and cultural transmission routes (Silk Road). The “trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance, political and economic relations between the civilizations” (Wikipedia).

On these roads the Christian faith was spread over the world. Remember Apg 8, 26 ff: Philipp and the Ethiopian Official – her you find the memory to one of the eldest churches of the world in Ethiopia fare from Jerusalem.) Till today you can find the memory of the old monks all over the world European – African and Asian continent because it was a written culture.

 

Germany was sustainable (nachhaltig) evangelized by the monks. They came without personal or political interests. They resigned all private property. They brought us not only the good news from Christ but also sustained economic development and wealth. Most of the gifts we can note today in the western world – in my few - we can lead back to their work.

During the 4th century Europe was suffering from poorness, famine (hunger crises), wars and desolation. The monks improved the feeding by clearing the virgin forest and established fields and gardens. Though they were intellectuals and from elegant birth they worked themselves with their own hands like they learned it from 1. Mose 2: God was gardening himself.

They brought us a pharmacy when they planted the effective remedies of the former world in a garden round the hospital. They brought us hygiene and sanitation and prevented illness by this way. They did not marry their whole life and made the marriage with one wife for the life valuable. They brought us science and a wonderful medicine from the Bible. They understood the Bible real and material.

Christ the healer

 

The great guide of the old monks was Christ the Lord. He is the creator of the world. He knows how his creation is functioning. He is the son of God, the great redeemer, who left his father and the heaven and gave his life to rescue the world, - not only the world but also me. He is the healer, the doctor, who is able to rescue everyone, not only the body also the soul. Each word he said, each example he gave has an important meaning. Everything which can be associated with his person is deeply healthful. It is close about him like a robe to a body. You may touch it and you may get health (Lk 8,44 The woman who touched Jesus´cloak).

Christ  agreed to naturopathy when he gave compliments to a woman who oiled him with nard before his death. We remember this event till today in the anointing of the sick.

Some people may say: Christ was a miracle heeler perhaps like a heeler you experienced. But there is a great and easy difference between them: the divine love of Christ who loved everybody especially the poor. Jesus did not take one pence for his heeling. Also the old monks offered their medicine free. They taught the people to prevent illness, to have a healthy life style, to become their own doctor; they changed medicine from specialists to a folk medicine for everybody.

The divine love of Christ overruns every human imagination.

Mt 5, 45 God, our father in heaven, makes his sun to shine on bad and good people and gives rain to those who do well and those who do evil. He hates the sun but he loves the sinner.

Nobody can heal without God´s help. But God is so wasteful with his gifts that he gives them also to his enemies and to people who do evil. In my few nobody of the warlocks even in the middle age were burned by the church but by the government (Angenendt). The divine love has been the greatest weapon of Christianity.

Luke the evangelist companion of Paul was a doctor. It means he was a doctor of the pagan Hippocratic medicine. The Romans did not have an own medicine but they had taken the medicine of the Greek. The symbol of Luke is a bull with wings. The bull is the sign of his old pagan background. But can a bull fly? Never, it changed totally. The faith offers him a wide horizon, a hope you will never find anywhere else.

Christ the teacher of medicine

The golden rule

A decision criterion

How can I decide if some remedies on the market are helpful or not?

There is a very easy golden rule in the medicine all over the world: Help and do not damage! Or like the apostle Paul says: 1. Thess 5, 21: Put all things to the test: keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil.

The African church obeys this rule in the service. They praise God in their hymns and songs. But the drums have been taken from their pagan past. They are like toys, good helper in a service.

For the old monks plants, animals and stones are toys of the divine love. Even if they have been used in a magic way they can be a real blessing in the hand of a good doctor.

Remedies produce the vitality

How can you verify if a remedy produces anything good? The monks used a very easy analytical method. It is basing on the hand. You must just touch it with your fingers. The tips of the fingers are very sensible and can feel vitality. A living healthy body feels like a little bird in its egg. You sense the vital force inside. Poison destroys the vitality, for example a plastic bag or a cigarette. A remedy gives me the vitality.

Demonstration. In Germany we take technical tools for this analysis like computer. But I prefer my hand – from my side it is more correct.

A spiritual remedy

Christ the great doctor changed the golden rule a bit and gives it a new sound. He says:

Mt 7,12 Do for others what you want them to do for you: (this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets) (Lk 6, 31).

Jesus knows: the greatest and most drastic enemy of the human does not be his illness. It remains in himself: his egoism and heard heartedness. For example when he does not spent love and time for other people (Luke) or does not forgive.  This bad position does not belong to the good creation of God. The nature forgives. Every morning the sun is arising new as if nothing had happened.

God has also not created the human as a sinner (Wisdom of Salomo). Sin destroys and come from the disturber of God`s creation – the devil. 

Natural remedies cannot help the humans in this case. Their effect is not deep enough to heel the consequences of illness, suffering and death. The problem is located on a deeper level. Even the best medicine cannot prevent you from death.

Christ gives us here a practical possibility to fight against the vicious circle of self – love. Every day do something good for others! So you fight against yourself. To forgive, to do well, and to help is real spiritual medicine. It will help you in your way of follow up Jesus.

Pass the step of humbleness!

 

The nature has not sinned but the human. This fact let us feel humble regarding to our remedies. Let us give appreciation to the nature. For the monks remedies do not help only our body but also our soul. Remedies have a spiritual meaning. They are our spiritual teachers.  Nature is coined by the creator like a coin from the emperor. 

 

Remedies praise God

The harmony of the creation

The nature praises God without voice and without human words, like the psalms say. It is like the angels who sing and praise above the creation. They guide the nature in praising and sing in a wonderful harmony.

In this picture from the monk Hildegard of Bingen you see the invisible circle of angels praising God. They are above the visible nature pictured as a square.

Also drums with skin from an animal and wood are able to praise their creator. They are not stranger in the service.

What about the human?

God the creator is like a musician (Genesis 2). He took some soil from the acre and formed a man out of it; he breathed life in him – and he began to live. This event did not happen at the beginning of the time creation- it is just happening every moment. With every breath God blows his breath (spirit) into our body. When we breathe out, our body praises God without words like the other nature.

The human since Adam left the circle of praise with his own will. But his body cannot fall out of his hands even if he do not agree to his creator.

The human`s body is a part of nature, agrees and takes part of the praise of God. If also our soul praises God like here in the service a great power is freed up, a potential the Lord himself gave me.

This potential is the Holy Spirit in me. It is like a dove. Do you know the characteristic of a dove? It can remember where it comes from.

You read in Genesis 8, the story of Noah and the flood.

Genesis 8, 6: After 40 days Noah opened a window and sent out a raven. It did not come back….

Genesis 8, 8 Meanwhile Noah sent out a dove to see if the water has gone down ….it flew back to the boat… her waited another 7 days and sent out the dove again. It returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak.

The dove can remember where it comes from. It does not forget.  In Germany we have carrier pigeons. They remember their place of birth. If you give them a letter they will bring it to just this place over a great distance.

 

Lukas  3, 21 f.  When Jesus was baptized while he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven. “This is my own dear Son. I am pleased with you.” The Hoy spirit remembers Christ.

 

The monks say: Remember where you come from. Here you find a great potential which you must use and develop. Remember how God the great doctor created.  I find my original identification: I am created to praise God like an angel.

 

Praise and heeling are in the Bible associated. Hymns are the remedy of the Holy Spirit himself. They are very helpful even in bad illness like cancer. They guide your body to the right harmony even in bad illness like cancer. They guide your body to the right harmony.


Medical (material)  level (vibration medicine)

We find a medical analogy in the TCM, an old medicine which has been practiced in the time of Christ and the old monks.

 

All energy of life (Meridian)  in our body are running  from top to down. For example we know it from the way of our food, the breath and blood. There is only one running cross and touches all others. It is running along our waistline. When we praise God we is swinging and helps the whole body to get the right balance, the origin heeling balance from the origin of the creation. 

 

 Remedies offer themselves - Bread

The offering

In the Holy Communion the Christian are celebrating the presence of Christ in bread and wine.

Bread is baked from crops. Wheat is a kind of crops.

 

-          Joh 12, 24 A grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains

 

Crops might grow higher and higher like a tree. But they do not like to be important. They stop growing to get fruit. They bow to the earth, are harvest and offer their live for new fruit. So they help us for our daily bread. Crops behave in this way naturally. We do not take any notice of them. But the reality is: they love to help us because they love us like Christ. 

A second point: We must grind the grains to get bread. This means a process of pain and suffering for the grain. We cannot live without the daily bread. We need it for body and soul. Similar we need Christ. He gives himself for us. 

Like bread all remedies offer themselves for us. They do so with all their heart otherwise they would not be so helpful. They do like their creator and his divine love. Do we appreciate their offering or do we waste it?

The change

When we eat bread we change from hunger to vitality. Similar we change to a new spiritual vitality by taking the Holy Communion. This change is very real, not an idea. Bread must not change itself during the Holy Communion but we must, our soul! We can change because of the offering. This is not an idea, it is reality. You can realize it in your body.

Medical level: cell regulation

Our body includes 20 – 40 billions of cells. They are the smallest components. The life span of a cell is very different. Some are living some seconds, some for three months. They are working and then they die. They offer themselves for us. When they do not offer we get very ill for example we will suffer from cancer. Our health depends on the fact that cells offer themselves.

The great change

The wheat is a teacher for the greatest change of our body. When you put a grain (corn) into the ground it will change, leave the earth and grow. So Jesus revived from death. You see on this old mosaic from Ravenna, 6th century a cross. It means the 4 elements fire – water – air – earth. If they are together a little grain can grow.

 


What means this for us?

We do not find Christ when we look upstairs to heaven. We find him in the earth. . Here in the deep earth you find Christ your redeemer. He himself will find you when you will be buried in a grave. He will call you by your own name and you will revive from death like he your remedy revived. He will change you from dead to live, also your body. This is our hope.

 

Wine

Wine has a similar experience of suffering. A grape must be pressed otherwise you do not get some wine. You do not drink it for amusement but like a medicine. Blood is able to give your life vitality. Also wine can change every part of nature to a good medicine.

Remedies show our reality

 

We spoke about the grace of nature and love. The principles and laws of nature show us: Remedies look like a mirror and show me who I am. They manifest me as a sinner.

The snake

The worldwide symbol of medicine and pharmacy is the arising snake. This symbol is dated back to the beginning of medicine in the human history. It means: The poison of a snake is a great danger and human killer. But also it is one of the greatest remedies since the beginning of humanity and you find it in every old medicine, also in the medicine of the Monks.

What is the indication for medicine of snakes?

The spiritual poison is described in Gen 3:  jealousy, envy, distrust and antagonism. When I as a doctor feel these thoughts in a human I give him a medicine of snakes. Often I succeed and the person felt better.

The symbol of the arising snake is a pagan symbol. Like the principles of nature they are also known and practiced by pagan doctors.

Roman 1, 19. What can be known about God is plain to them for God himself made it plain.

If you want to understand the Christian meaning of the symbol it is important to turn back. If you get help by a snake remedy you can be assured your sins – jealousy and others.


Christ the Lord translated it for the Christians. In John 3, 14 he remembers to the history of Israel in the desert. The people arose against the Lord and as a consequence snakes appeared and killed them. God called Moses to “make a metal snake and put it on a pole so that anyone who was bitten could look at it and be healed (4. Moses 21, 8.9).

A hanging snake is not dangerous. It is dead. So Christ hangs at the cross as a remedy of the mankind.

    - 4. Moses 21, 8: Anyone who was bitten could look at the cross and be healed (21,8).Jesus Christ the remedy is hanging at the cross and showing me my sins. He is so different from me. He shows me, how I look like an arising snake, my jealousy, envy, distrust and antagonism. He himself is only love, forgiveness and peace.
He - Christ – is the real redeemer of humans.

Tears of remorse

 Why is the symbol so helpful also for Christians? I feel sorrow about my reality. Tears of remorse appear in my eyes. These tears have a great potential of heeling and are stronger than every natural remedy. They clean my heard. They are reality and break all stagnation and heel every illness.

For the medical level you look for tears in the nature.  You can find them when you sting in special trees like incense and myrrh. A liquid leaves the tree trunk and become hardened in the air. We call it natural resin (Gen 2, 12).  They are the great remedies of Christianity till today especially for the Catholics.

Their effect is cleaning. They clean our thoughts for prayer. They clean the atmosphere and prevent infections (SARS). They clean the body and decontaminate it. So other remedies can work.

The sacrifice of prayer

Incense and myrrh are burned. The smoke arises to God. This is the arising the Lord loves. It is not similar to the arising snake. It is the arising of my heart which is wise and asks for God´s will.

Mt 10,16 You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves.

The prayer is ascending to God`s throne (Book of Revelation 8, 3.4). It is the great remedy of the church like the hymns. God answers to prayer.

Become a remedy yourself


The good shepherd with the lamb is the great example of offering in the bible. We might say: their relationship means to eat and be eaten. The shepherd eats – the lamb is eaten. So we find it in the nature. But the reality is different. It means: Care for each other (für einander da sein). Not only the lamb offers itself for the shepherd but also the shepherd offers itself for the lamb.

Everybody in the nature help each other. Also my body is helping my soul and the other way round.

 

The old monks say: how can you offer remedies and do not offer yourselves?

For the monks it is the task of our life to change ourselves to a remedy for helping.

This means the word of Christ at the final judgment Mt 25, 36: I was sick and you took care of me.


I want to stop now. I tried to tell you something about naturopathic medicine. It is not school medicine of western countries but it has a deep connection to the Christian faith and is very helpful all over the world. It depends in a respect before God and the life, not only the life of humans but the whole nature.

 If we take it in this way we will not senseless waste our remedies, the African or European.