This past April 18, on Holy Thursday, the Holy Eucharist was held to consecrate holy oils. The holy oil is used for anointing during the “Ceremony of the Visitation of the Sick” in the Book of Common Prayer. The Book of Common Prayer says, “the Church has been anointing the sick with oil and has prayed for the recovery of the body and the spirit,” but it actually comes from the Book of James in the New Testament, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” The gospels also tell about the healing of the sick by the apostles through the anointing of the oil; this is one of the important works of Jesus Christ.
The purpose of anointing is to give comfort, but in many cases, it is practiced when a person is in a state of a serious health condition. Although used in some cases, it should by no means be used as an anointing of the dying. Its purpose is to pray for the recovery of the body and soul, and may be used for any illnesses. It may also be used when one has a fever from a cold. Anointing is not magic. The importance is to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. He will be with us through that prayer and give strength for the sick to become better physically and spiritually to be able to rise. May the holy oil be widely used.
On April 6, the retired Revd. Akira Muraoka who was living in Osaka, passed away at the age of 91. He transferred from the Diocese of Osaka to the Diocese of Chubu in 1986, and practiced his missionary and pastoral activities mainly in Ueda and Karuizawa. He also built the foundation for the current Karuizawa Shaw Memorial Church. May his soul rest in peace.
The Rt Revd Peter Ichiro Shibusawa