Daily Devotion 30 January 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Matthew 10: 5-8 ‘The Mission of the Twelve’

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

“It is usually the Sunday nearest 30th January”, the Director said, sitting at his desk in Karigiri Leprosy Hospital, South India. “That is the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated and because of his concern for the poor and particularly those afflicted with leprosy, we mark the nearest Sunday as World Leprosy Day.” (31st January this year).

Leprosy is almost non-existent in Britain, but in some parts of the world millions of people are vulnerable to the crippling bacillus due to their poor hygiene and living conditions and inadequate diet. With the aid of new drugs in recent years, those who come for treatment at an early stage and continue with it can be completely cured. There need be no fear of loss of limbs, disfigurement or blindness.

Unfortunately, many of those who are cured remain outcasts in the eyes of their family and community. I saw the evidence as I toured the hospital – the woman earning a living in the weaving shed making mats for sale in the West because her own people would have nothing more to do with her, and the group of houses at the corner of the compound to enable such people to live out their days in peace.

Thankfully there are those who will pray for and support in practical ways the work of the Leprosy mission and other organizations to help eradicate the disease. The plight of such people ought to be a reminder that within our own community there are also people who at times feel like outcasts – the poor, the redundant, the housebound, those evicted from their homes, even the neighbour we ignore. If we are rightly concerned about the needs of people across the world, then let us ensure that we extend the same care and acceptance to those nearest to us!

Prayer:

Almighty Father, the giver of life and health, look mercifully on those who suffer from leprosy.
Stretch out your hand to touch and heal them as Jesus did during his earthly life.
Grant wisdom and insight to those who are seeking the prevention and cure of the disease;
give skill and sympathy to those who minister to the patients;
reunite the separated with their families and friends;
and inspire your people with the task set before The Leprosy Mission,
that it may never lack either the staff or the means to carry on its healing work;
in accordance with your will, and to the glory of your holy name.
We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Reflection © 2021 Roger McAvoy.
Prayer © Leprosy Mission from https://www.leprosymission.org.uk/.
Image freely available online.

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