Twice last week, I anointed members of Avery UMC: one in worship, and another in an assisted living facility. While anointing is a common practice in many traditions, and considered a sacrament in some, the United Methodist Church is not often known for regular observation of the practice.
But scripture gives us several examples of anointing in a variety of situations. We may anoint someone who is sick (James 5:14), someone who is nearing death (John 12:1-7), or to signify that someone has been chosen by God to lead (Exodus 29:1-8).
No matter what the occasion, the purpose of anointing is the same: to signify that God’s blessing rests on the anointed person. It can be a powerful way to experience God’s presence in our lives. In all three circumstances which we commonly anoint people, the uncertainty of the future may lead to anxiety, worry, or fear. Anointing reminds us that God allays our fears and calms our anxiety with the holy presence that rests on us.
As a pastor, I am always willing to anoint someone for any of the above reasons, or if you desire to feel God’s presence more deeply in your life. Anointing can be done in worship, at home, in the hospital prior to surgery, or anywhere.
— Pastor Erik