URC Daily Devotion 17th May 2024

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Friday 17th May 2024
Luke 8: 1-3
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,  and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

Jesus healing many bruised people. Scope and attention is often paid to what Jesus said, or secondly on the level of illness, demon possession, or death. Today’s passage speaks of the incidentals before the next great utterance of Jesus. We glance over these few verses without a second thought. Yet in this passage we are told of the great number of demons and illnesses that the group had. Jesus’ reputation for healing starts with those closest to him. Mary finds wholeness and is healed. Joanna and Susanna too, find their illnesses gone. Their thankfulness shown in the generosity of supporting this important mission to the towns and villages.

Jesus met people in their towns and villages rather than asking them to come to him. He seeks out the broken and bruised; people recognise and want to talk to him. Working as a hospital chaplain has made me realise that the one thing that gets bruised more than anything in hospital is our confidence: the elderly lady getting a hip replacement after a fall, the younger man who has to ask for carers to come into his house to clean him daily, and the child who has to have another operation. Chaplains cannot tend to medical needs, but can offer support and understanding to help rebuild confidence while we encompass them in our prayers.

Rather than going out on a grand mission with a large entourage, there is something to be said for just bringing Jesus with us in the day to day spaces and places where we work and have being. The words of comfort in the corridors of the hospital often reflect the acknowledgement of our common humanity, our laughs and loves; the pains of life are considered in a moments dialogue, or indeed held in silence. As to grand thoughts of mission –  I simply ask Jesus at each bedside to tend to their needs, mend every bruise and give patients and staff solace and comfort.

We pray for those
bruised and battered by life’s travails, 
tripped up by illness, confused in spirit 
or touched by the weight of the world’s problems.
Allow us, O God, 
to show love and pray for bruises to be healed.
Help us to manage our own infirmities 
and support those whose vocation calls them 
into intimacy with humanity’s 
diseases, difficulty, and death.
O God may you be thanked and praised.

Today’s writer

The Revd Dr Paul Dempster is a chaplain at East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust Hospital mainly based at Ipswich Hospital.

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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