Read: Matthew 7:7-12
What of we aas United
Methodists located in every corner of the West Virginia Conference
really took the time this Lent to fast, pray and listen for
God's call to respond ot the opiod epidemic?
What if we set aside food for a day or a meal?
What if when we felt a pang of hunger, we stopped what we
were doing and prayed for those who hunger uncontrollably for an opiod?
What if we took the time to think about how the addicted
person hungers every day for this drug, to the expense of their health,
their family and their future? If skipping a meal
makes us miserable and irritable along with that little voice
in our head that tries to get us to cheat on our fast, how does the
person caught in addiction feel every day?
if we aside time to ask God for guidance? What if we honestly
asked God our questions about addiction, and shouted our fears and
frustrations about the addicted? What if we asked what our
church's calling is? What if we intentionally prayed
for the healing of those who suffer from substance abuse
disorder, healing for their families, and healing for our communities?
if, throughout this time of Lent, we listened for God's call on our
lives? What if we listened for a loud booming voice or a
still quiet voice or God's guidance in the crazy busy-ness of the day
and in the quiet of our nightly dreams?
God calls the body of Christ - every part must respond. Now
is the time. We all have a calling. We have been
blessed with specific gifts and graces that are needed to end the opiod
epidemic. Is this scary? Yes indeed. Is
this unfamiliar territory? Yes again. Is God with
Is it not enough for us to open our church doors and wait for the
epidemic to end. We must leave our sanctuaries and enter the
battle. Onward Christian Soldiers!
Opiods -- One
Family of Drugs
Our current epidemic with opiods began
thousands of years ago when someone, most likely in the current area of
Turkey was looking for something to eat and decided to try
some part of the seed pod of a poppy. This person's hunger
was satisfied, and they had a unique feeling of wellbeing along with
their headache being gone! This person told another person,
and before long people were harvesting the poppy seeds and brewing them
in tea or mixing them with wine.
Homer, the Greek author of Iliad and Odyssey wrote, "Into the bowl in
which their wine was mixed, she slipped a drug that had the power of
robbing grief and anger of their sting and banishing all painful
memories. No one who swallowed this dissolved in their wine
could shed a single tear that day, even for the death of his mother and
father, or if they put his brother or his own son to the sword and he
were there to see it done..."
Over time chemists changed the molecular makeup of the poppy and
created opium. Just before the American Civil War, morphine
was created from opium. Around the same time came
the invention of the hypodermic needle, which helped morphine become a
miracle drug for wounded soldiers facing horrible battle field
surgeries. Unfortunately, opium and morphine, while great at
curing pain, were very addictiive. Heroin was created later
during WWI with the hope of making morpine stronger but less
addictive..it did not work.
Scientists were able to create a manmade form of the opiod molecule and
thus created hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl and carfentanyl.
No longer were the opiod painkillers labor intensive with
growing and harvesting poppies, but could be massed produced in
factories at a fraction of the cost. These manmade opiods
were created for post-surgical and end-of-life care (to comfort dying
Today we are caught in an addiction epidemic that can be fueled by
opium, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, methadone, fentanyl or
carfentanyl, all chemically related to the poppy.
When your physician is helping your deal with pain issues, always ask
if what you are being prescribed is an opiod and have a frank
discussion about possible addiction issues and other pain reducing
drugs that might not be so addictive.
What If Week 1 Insert (PDF)