FRIDAY THE SEVENTEENTH OF AUGUST, 2018
Put love into our hearts, Lord Jesus: love for you; love for those around us; love for those we find it hard to like. Amen.
You who obey the immortal King, attend his holy place;
bow to the glories of his power and bless his wondrous grace.
Lift up your hands by morning light and send your souls on high;
raise your admiring thoughts by night above the starry sky.
The God of Zion cheers our hearts with rays of quickening grace;
the God that spread the heavens abroad and rules the swelling seas.
( Isaac Watts, 1674–1748 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Florence Nightingale was a pioneer of modern nursing. Her careful, thorough work left a huge legacy to the world. Her religious beliefs are uncertain and personal. Many biographers list her as a “Unitarian” or some as a syncretist, who saw truth in all religious traditions. It is known that she struggled with the creeds of the Church. Yet in her diary, dated the seventh of March, 1850, she wrote: “God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him, for him alone without the reputation,” and she considered that moment the turning point of her life.
In an entry dated the twelfth of May, she wrote: “Today I am thirty, the age Christ began his mission. Now no more childish things. No more love. No more marriage. Now Lord let me think only of your will, what you will me to do. Oh Lord your will, your will.”
Over the next decade, she went to Germany to train with the Lutheran Deaconess Community. Her most lasting contributions came during the Crimean War when she took over hospital care for soldiers in Istanbul. Sir Sidney Herbert, Secretary of War, obtained permission for Florence to lead a group of thirty-eight nurses there. She found that more of the soldiers were dying from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds. She worked tirelessly to reform the sanitary conditions in the hospital. At night, she would often patrol the wards, carrying a dim lamp, to make sure that all was well and no one was in need of help. She became known as "the Lady with the Lamp."
In 1860 she opened the Nightingale School for Nurses, to train nurses to work in hospitals, to work with the poor and to teach. By the 1880’s the Nightingale Nurses were well established across England and her influence had spread to America and around the world. In 1883 Queen Victoria awarded her the Royal Red Cross.
Her own health was precarious in the later years of her life.
In 1885, on Christmas Day, she noted in her diary: “Today, O Lord, let me dedicate this crumbling old woman to you."
She died at age ninety on the thirteenth of August, 1910.
Scripture. In the fifty-eighth chapter of "Isaiah," at verses ten and eleven, we read:
If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
... for peace in the world.
... for nurses, auxiliary nurses, health visitors and hospital cleaners.
... for wounded soldiers.
... for the people of Gabon and Indonesia, who celebrate their national day today.
... for those who have died in monsoon floods in India's southern state of Kerala; for those who have lost their homes and possessions; for all affected by the flooding. DETAILS
... for an end to knife-crime and gang-related violence.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis:
Well, how exactly do I love myself?
Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently "Love your neighbour" does not mean "feel fond of him" or "find him attractive." I ought to have seen that before, because, of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying.
Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments) but that is not why I love myself. In fact, it is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do.
Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a bad man’s actions, but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. For a long time, I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life, namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact, the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them. Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid. But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is any way possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again.
Life-giving God, you alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness; give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of your servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
CLICK HERE, then click on "Begin" and follow the instructions on each page.