St Michael’s Vicarage
Dear People of Alnwick,
I cannot let this opportunity to communicate with you go by without first of all thanking so many of you for your kindness, your concern, and, most importantly, your prayers over recent weeks when I’ve been more than a little ‘under the weather’.
I’ve always been very keen on praying for the sick (and at one point ‘flirted’ with the idea of being a hospital chaplain) and have been told countless times just how much that ministry is appreciated. I have to say that being on the receiving end of such ministry has been not only strengthening and encouraging but has also led me to ponder, even more than usual, the whole business of quietly and regularly holding individuals before God – asking that they may know his presence and his healing love.
We are incredibly blessed to have a National Health Service in this country and, even though we may only have mistakes and slip-ups brought to our attention, the simple fact is that the NHS does an amazing job for the majority of the time.
I have the huge privilege of acting as Spiritual Director to a Hospital Chaplain who works in an extremely busy acute hospital and I know, from my conversations with him, how much what he and his colleagues do is valued by patients, relatives and staff.
By the time you read this letter we will have just had one of our twice-yearly Celebrations of Wholeness and Healing in St Michael’s when we concentrate on praying for the sick (whether in body, mind or spirit) and offering a ministry of the laying-on-of-hands and anointing.
What a blessing such a service is and, unfailingly, as people go home from it, they express the depth and the power of the worship and the blessing they receive from being part of it.
So – individual prayer for the sick, the work of Hospital Chaplains and the public ministry of healing and wholeness provided by the local church all contribute to a fairly constant round of Christian care and concern – all based on the fact that Christ himself healed and made whole people from all walks of life.
Thanks be to God for every opportunity to hold before our loving God those for whom we have a care – and asking him to work in each one of them the good purposes of his perfect will.
Let me leave you with a prayer for healing which, I venture to think, you might find helpful.
God of the present moment, God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to those who wait in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them equal of
whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God and we need you.┬á Amen.
With every blessing,