I am thirsty

Since receiving my news of becoming an Ordinand I have felt a little adrift. I have a sense of feeling ready to move on yet I’m in the waiting area, perhaps I am back in the wilderness waiting to make the first steps in my new future ministry. Whilst wandering this lonely path I have found great strength from working as a Chaplian in my local hospital. 

I have been working shifts in A&E on Mondays between 2pm and 4pm, these are the busiest times apparently. I was nervous at first, would people want to talk to me when they are in need of urgent treatment?  As soon as I began my shifts I knew that I was here to serve the people there and it has felt like a real privilege to walk with people through their time in the department.

I have experienced some very moving moments where elderly people have clutched my hand with worry in their eyes, to sharing jokes with younger patients. I’ve tucked people up in blankets, made phone calls to relatives, provided drinks, taken off shoes, tied up hospital robes, provided tissues, laughed, cried, and prayed. 

On one particular shift a lovely elderly man came in on his own, he had broken his hip and had just found out the bad news that he needed an urgent operation. He was worried, upset, and in pain. I popped up to his bed, he was in the corridor as it was that busy. I introduced myself as a chaplain, and smiled. He smiled back and told me what had happened. As he lay back tired and in pain he said to me, “I am thirsty”. I checked with the doctor that he could have a drink and I helped him to drink small amounts from a flimsy plastic cup. I stayed with him for a while and then I said goodbye. 

It wasn’t until our chaplaincy team meeting today that I realised how important our role is as a chaplain. How we bring the Holy Spirit with us as we serve these ill people. A colleague, a Sister, spoke about the moment with my gentleman in regards to Jesus on the cross saying that he was thirsty. Jesus was tired, in pain, upset, just like that man I met. I felt very moved as she spoke of the comparable notion of giving Jesus a drink on the cross as I had done to the man. As I listened to her words I had a wonderful reiteration of the importance of the good news of Jesus we bring to others, I felt that fire once again that made me step out and say yes to God’s calling on my life.

Being a witness to that good news means that we see Jesus walking with us where people are in pain, suffering, tired and thirsty like he himself experienced on the cross. It feels that in A&E we are walking around the foot of the cross keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, helping those who are suffering to see him through us. 

I pray that with every blanket I cover someone with, with every drink I make, every hand I hold, every tear I wipes away, that that person may see the love of our Lord Jesus Christ shining through into their darkness and time of need. 

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

These past two weeks have been emotional! 

Not only was I lucky enough to follow the Bishop of Middleton around during his Thy Kingdom Come prayer walk and provide communication support for the Diocese, I also attended a BAP to see if I could be recommended for training for ordained stipendary ministry. 

At the end of Thy Kingdom Come prayer walk, there was a beacon event in Manchester Cathedral and I was asked to do a reading, it was this passage:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and grow weary, and the the young will fall exhausted, but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

I stood at the pulpit with a sizeable crowd with the three Bishops behind me. I let the words wash over me and I felt that warm tingle of God’s love and strength sustaining my voice and my nerves. Over the past two weeks I have wondered how I’ve kept going. I’ve walked at pace and at length in boiling heat carrying numerous bags yet as we walked, people appeared with water, with food, and with love. 

During my BAP I felt God’s strength and love as I walked around the meadows. The grass sparkled with golden buttercups, the wind blew the fluffy tops of the long grass, and as I walked I knew I wasn’t alone. As I look back at those memories I think of the passage that I read out, “those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles” in the breezy warmth, in those fields, I stretched open my arms and let the spirit blow through me, and I danced and flew with our God.

The best thing about all this is that I can show people what it feels like to follow Jesus, I can help them to listen to the spirit, and take comfort from the Father. 

Yesterday I received the news that I have been recommended to train for ordination and I am absolutely humbled by God’s call and I know I will serve with everything that I have and that I am.

I’ll do everything I can so I can say to people, have you not known? Have you not heard? The lord IS the everlasting God! and he loves you more than you could ever imagine.