When I think of our parish nurses doing their caring work among our people in the local church I serve, I often think of that day Jesus first proclaimed himself as the promised Saviour in his home town of Nazareth.
From the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, with all eyes fixed on him and all ears open, Jesus proclaims:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. (Luke 4:18-19)
As Jesus rolled up that scroll and sat down with all eyes and ears on him, he simply said, Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:21).
When I work with our Parish Nurses among people in our community I can see that the vocation of Parish Nurse is an outworking of Jesus’ ongoing ministry to continually do these things long promised in our time.
Parish Nurses enact the good news of a kind and loving God who seeks out and searches for those who need a doctor (Matthew 9:12). They are good news from God to people who desperately need some good news in their day. Parish Nurses proclaim freedom for those who are held in by illnesses of varying kinds, be they inwardly troubled, physically unwell or facing major surgery and recovery time. Parish Nurses set free those oppressed by various conditions and disease by their comforting and skilled work and timely advice.
In all of this they proclaim that this year and every year since the resurrection of Jesus from suffering and death is indeed a year of God’s favor on the unwell, the anxious, the suffering, the lonely and the troubled.
Jesus surely calls us to believe his words here for ourselves in our own private lives. He calls us to trust him when he says that he is good news … that he is freedom from all that attempts to bind us … that he is new eyes to see his new life on offer every day … that he is our freedom from anxiety, health issues, worry, suffering and even death … and that we are his baptized and loved people who are living in the years of his grace and favor.
He calls us to put these gifts into action and into words on a daily basis, as we become his favor and grace to those around us.