When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
July 2023 marked 75 years of the NHS. We had Daily Devotions about the core values of the NHS which underpin its striving to ensure the best possible care:
Jesus healing great numbers of people seems to me to embody these values. The disciples and the crowds working together to bring people to Jesus, the compassion and respect he demonstrates in offering healing to all, the healing that is available to everyone without discrimination and improves their lives, and (presumably) the quality of care – there are no stories about people getting sick again after Jesus had healed them, although they all died eventually.
I wonder if some of the personal healing miracle stories are from individuals in the huge procession brought to him in this passage, like the man let down through the roof and the woman who touched his robe in the crowd. It’s good to see the individual as well as the bigger picture: a dry report is brought to life by individual stories. Sadly in the NHS it’s often the stories where things have gone wrong that we hear.
Perhaps Jesus’ model of healing could be summed up by the word ‘generosity’. He is portrayed in the Gospels as constantly giving of himself as he teaches, preaches and enacts the Kingdom of God in all the places he goes and ultimately on the cross.
The NHS in turn embodies Jesus’ values and this is no accident. The church has always been there to support the weak, vulnerable and marginalised. Not always very well but the principles are there, seen in the mediaeval monastic traditions of hospitality and care through to the founding of the NHS, modern healthcare, medical research, and the desire to improve healthcare for all globally.
Help us to follow your example
of generosity in all we do,
distribute cheerfully of ourselves,
our time, talents and resources.
May your Kingdom come.