It’s Friday morning as I write this but more importantly it’s St Luke’s Day. As we know, Luke was a physician (or equivalent) and so he is always associated with those who exercise the ministry of healing. In the collect for Luke the Evangelist we speak of a man ‘whose praise was in the gospel’ – what a wonderful phrase and sentiment …what a wonderful way to live! The collect goes on to speak of his call to be ‘an evangelist and physician of the soul’ and then the prayer speaks of us, Christ’s church:
‘…by the grace of the Spirit and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel, give your Church the same love and power to heal;’
However, diagnosis always precedes true healing – and it can be hard sometimes to accept that we really are in need of healing. Too readily we mask our symptoms and suffer in what is so often felt by others to be a ‘deafening silence’.
So, I was moved this past week – a national week of awareness for mental illness – with the testimony of Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury. He only came to accept his depression through the wise counsel of his daughter, who herself has suffered from mental illness. Justin sought healing from those to whom God has given the gift of healing and we must hope and pray that he has found healing and wholeness.
A dear priest friend of mine used to joke ‘for all your theological headaches take paradox!’. Well, there are real paradoxes here for us to ‘take’ – a sufferer of mental illness helping someone else recognise and accept their mental illness but, more searchingly, there is a paradox for the whole church family. In a beautiful book, ‘The Wounded Healer’, Henri Nouwen writes:
Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers.
You can share in Justin’s testimony here: https://www.facebook.com/archbishopofcanterbury/videos/
Only a wounded Church can be a healing church – for by his wounds we are healed…
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us your gift of faith that, forsaking what lies behind and reaching out that which is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
We continue to pray for:
Clemmie, Ellen Chapman, Kris Tippen, Robert Bowen-Colthurst, Tony Johnson and Gerard
And those who have recently died and their loved ones:
Joan Hamilton and David Blyth
If you know of anyone who needs our prayers or would appreciate a visit, please let the Rector or the Parish Administrator know.
Should you wish to contact the Rector his mobile number is 07538 011579.
Services for this weekend
8.00 BCP Holy Communion at West Wittering and Itchenor
At Birdham 9.00 the theme for Little Jimmies will be “The Story of Bread” and at 9.30 Jim Mould’s sermon theme will be “The Three P’s -Pester, pester, pester!”. At West Wittering 10.00 Ben Harvey’s sermon theme will be “Footsteps”.
There will be Evensong at 6.00 at West Wittering and Susan Monks’ theme will be “God’s Helper”.
Sunday 20th October – Trinity 18
Ps 121; Luke 18. 1-8
1 Corinthians 1. 4-8; Matthew 22. 34-end
Nehemiah 8. 9-end; John 16. 1-11
Sunday 27th October – Trinity 19
2 Timothy 4, 6,7,8 16-18; Luke 18. 9-14
Ephesians 4. 17-32; Matthew 9. 1-8