Sunday, December 16, 2012

Healing and Violence

Wall hanging at Amani ya Juu - Nairobi, Kenya

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9 King James Version
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 4:7 King James Version

We live in a violent world that is awaiting the Prince of Peace - Peace that comes from outside of our ideas, policies and medical care.  That is the good news of healing in a violent world!   

I once heard the definition of “hero” as that person who provides safe spaces.  He/she brings calm, perspective and action to the chaos that is a part of the violence that surrounds us.  We have seen that in tragedies and in places like Amani ya Juu.

There is another critical component of that Peace, Justice.   These two ideas, “Peace” and “Justice” are found in the Hebrew word “Shalom”.  The Prince of Peace is that wonderful gift, Shalom, to a world in chaos.

To build His Kingdom, we need to be those Jesus followers who build those safe  and just spaces.   We need to find and see again the healing found in the  “Shalom of this Season”.  


Post January 23, 2011, Peace from Above

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Royal Birth

Tenwek Hospital, Kenya
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 
Luke 9:2 King James Version

Once in royal Davids city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little Child.

“Once in Royal Davids City” - First verse, Christmas Carol
Lyrics C.F. Alexander  Music H.J. Gauntlett

There is nothing like a the excitement of a royal birth and how appropriate at this time of the year.   Let me share another recent great birth story.

It was the first part of this year(2012) while at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya that an abandoned term infant was brought to the nursery.   He was in a very tenuous state of health and named, Daniel, by the nurses who knew he would need to be strong to survive.  A few days later, it was discovered that he had been named Emmanuel by the police who had found him.   The resulting name was Emmanuel Daniel.  With a lot of love and care Emmanuel Daniel was nurtured back to health.   

This Christmas we celebrate the surprise and joy of a Royal Birth.  The surprise is that God appears to the poor disenfranchised world and provides a new definition of Royalty and Kingdom that is still in the making.  His Emmanuel’s birth is more like the reality of birth in the world in places like Kenya.   

May the blessings and surprise of this Royal Christmas birth be with you this year.


Post December 12, 2011, Emmanuel
Post December 2, 2012, Awaiting “Good News”

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Awaiting "Good News"

God, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
    you let me catch my breath
    and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

Psalm 23 (The Message)

At this time of Advent in the church calendar, we are awaiting the “good news”.  It is what we all want to receive.  Sometimes in our lives, hearing “good news” seems more important particularly when our lives are challenged  by suffering and loss.   

Professionally, I have been interested in how physicians communicated “bad news”.  It is a common problem for physicians.   We have largely seen this communication problem from the perspective of the “giver” of the bad news.

We also have the opportunity to be a vehicles for the “good news”.   I have seen it in the concern and radical love of those who provide the care that is more than their technical skills.  We can be part of that unexpected intrusion in our lives by a God who has promised to be with us even when we together with our patients face “bad news”.  What we know is that when God intervenes in our lives it is always “good news”... like that first Christmas when God surprises us with new life.

Thanks be to God for the “good news” of this season when we celebrate God’s greatest “Good News”, Emmanuel.


Previous Blog Post, Emmanuel, 12/18/2011