For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
says the Lord,
because they have called you an outcast:
“It is Zion; no one cares for her!” ~ Isaiah 30: 17
Healing ministries are being highlighted and challenged in this time of Covid-19. Often, it is only health workers and staff, and sometimes chaplains who are able to visit those who are ill in hospital and dying. Their work and ministry is crucial always but at a time like this, with resources extended often beyond capacity, no one could have imagined working in these conditions in our lifetime. We value the work of those in hospitals and care home and continue to be so appreciative of their work and their sacrifice.
Today is International Nurses Day, celebrated on May 12th every year on the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. This day highlights the role of nurses and the support and care they offer as important and valuable. In the materials produced to recognize this International Nurses Day, International Council of Nurses President, Annette Kennedy, shares that the “ICN existed for almost 50 years before the creation of the United Nations and World Health Organization and foreshadowed what they could achieve. Despite the enormity of differences, confusion or strife within and between countries, the nursing profession consistently worked together, stood together, and came together in unity to bring about positive change for a healthier world.” (IND 2020 Resources and Evidence Report) Over 20 million nurses around the world provide support and care in their local contexts.
“A Voice to Lead-Nursing the World to Health” is the 2020 theme. It appropriately resonates in the Christian community. We think of Old Testament stories of God’s healing and restoration to individuals and communities. And we remember Jesus’ healing acts, how he came among us, healing the sick and suffering, bringing good news to the poor. Jesus eliminated the ultimate suffering of humanity: being cut off from God. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see God’s ultimate healing of the world which is to restore humanity and all of creation into relationship with God. Sin and death are destroyed by God’s saving love in Jesus Christ. God is the one who heals our wounds and restores our health. Physicians, nurses, health care workers and staff support God’s healing work in the world. And we give thanks and praise for those with these healing gifts.
God, our healer, we thank you especially today for nurses. Those who care and nurture us back to health. We thank you for their ministry to us and for their incredible sacrifices particularly at this time of Covid-19. Bless them, bless their hands, hearts and feet so that they can continue to make an impact and difference to the health of all of our communities. We thank you, O God, that you heal us from our every ill, until at the last, you heal us from this earthly body and bring us to an everlasting and blessed peace in your eternal kingdom. There, you promise peace, and a place without war, without disease, without illness, without pain. A place where all of our tears are wiped away. Bring us that wholeness and peace, we pray it in Jesus’ name. Amen.