Thought for the Day : Saturday 23 May

Thought for the Day from Nigel Greenwood from St Chad’s:

Readings: Numbers 21:4-9 and Luke 7:18-35

Chapter 7 of Luke’s Gospel broadly deals with healing and forgiveness, but today’s passage is headed ‘Messengers from John the Baptist’ in which his followers were sent to ask Jesus a direct question: “are you the one who is to come or are we to wait for another ?” – but as so often, our Lord’s response challenged them to consider what they had witnessed, telling them to report back in both clear and specific terms on how he had restored people to health.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence as Luke was a physician, that on reading today’s passage from scripture, one particular phrase surely stands out as being very relevant to the current Covid-19 pandemic … “Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues and evil spirits”.

There are naturally times in life when our hopes, dreams or expectations are shattered by events beyond our control … leaving us to deal with the consequences as we seek answers or explanations, but also the potential for reflection, comfort – even healing. Another human response can be to attribute blame or at least accountability, as we try to understand the causes or effects – then seek resolution, enabling us to move on.

Through faith, we are empowered to cope with whatever the world can throw at us, strengthened to surmount any form of adversity whatever the causes, implications, or impact. This is summed up so gently but powerfully in the simple yet inspiring lyrics of the civil rights Gospel song ‘We Shall Overcome’ – possessing an eternal quality beyond the years, context or issues which assures us that despite everything we have suffered, given time we can eventually come to terms with whatever has happened.

Surely capturing the mood at this moment in history, these words also draw us to look forward to a future beyond the present pandemic. In the process, we have opportunity to even discover new ways of ‘being’ as we focus on those aspects of life which really matter – re-considering our priorities as both humans and Christians.

That must be a vital part of any process of healing – in the widest sense.

The following link leads to the classic version by Joan Baez from some 50 years ago, in which the reassurance of the words transcends the years (hence the crackles) but also a tranquillity within the associated picture moving us towards a natural focus for our responses and reflections …..

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