Tag Archives: Health Care

The Great Physician

Living in the Spirit
July 17, 2017

Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

‘Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’ –Matthew 13:18-23

It is amazing how many times I can read a scripture and suddenly see something new. Scripture opens to us when we most need it. I think that is particularly true as we pass through the differing ages and stages of life but it is also true in relation to what is happening in our world at a given time. The phrase that caught my attention today is the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart. Recently, I became disheartened by the mean spirited comments made about providing health care for all. A friend just quoted back to me something I said in the past and still believe today, “ Americans for all their short-sightedness, really do not want their city streets marred by sick and dying people begging for help.” Comments I am hearing and reading seem to indicate that I am wrong.

I believe that access to affordable basic health care is a right, not a privilege, which places health care in the Common Good category. We are all better off for many reasons when our society is healthy. I support Medicare for all as the best and most cost effective way of meeting this need.  For those who want a higher level of care and can afford it, supplemental insurance is available.

Health care policy notwithstanding, what is wrong with us, if we can so easily say, get a job if you want health care when the vast majority of non-disabled adults do work and when the health care they need may cost more than they make. I have also heard dying is more cost effective for some cancer patients and some disabled. Jesus healed the sick and commanded us to care for them also. It is a heart thing, and we need to understand that things of the heart must be protected from evil. There is an old song my mother used to sing; we might want to think on it now and then:

The great Physician now is near,
The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
Oh, hear the voice of Jesus.

Refrain:
Sweetest note in seraph song,
Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
Sweetest carol ever sung,
Jesus, blessed Jesus*.

Prayer: Lord, grant us the gift of shared responsibility for the care of our loved ones, the loved ones of others, and particularly for those who seem to have no one who loves them. Amen.

*First verse and refrain of The Great Physician by William Hunter see at http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/The_Great_Physician/

All scriptures are quoted from the new Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

God’s Privilege

health-careLiving in the Spirit
October 9, 2016

Scripture Reading: Luke 17:11-19

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’ –Luke 17:15-19

What do we take for granted? Much, I fear. The availability of health care is one thing we probably should not be taking for granted. In rural Oklahoma, the actual accessibility of health care is threatened. Three major rural hospitals have closed in the last year because of lack of funding. The debate of whether health care is a right or a privilege ends at the doors of a closed hospital forcing families to travels many more miles to have a baby or an appendectomy. Whether people can afford the health care they need is another issue to consider.

There are good, selfish reasons for assuring health care for all. Preventing people from dying in the streets of communicable disease would be one. Jesus modeled a different vision. The model includes wholeness for all of God’s children. Such wholeness is a necessity to the attainment of the kingdom Jesus champions.

Our scripture today illustrates the wisdom of seeing the world through objective eyes. A Samaritan was the one leper who knew his healing was a privilege and returned to give thanks for it. What we must understand is that God’s privileges are for everyone and we are not to take them for granted for ourselves at the expense of others.

Prayer: God of Justice, we confess it is very hard to see the world from your vantage. Help us to understand our role in making your model of life our reality. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Jesus, the Healer

the-raising-of-jairus-daughter-english-schoolLiving in the Spirit
June 27, 2015

Scripture Reading: Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him. –Mark 5:21-24

Is the availability of accessible, affordable, and appropriate health care a right or a privilege? This is a very complicated question. Medical professionals deal with it on a daily bases as they make difficult, ethical decisions regarding the efficacy of health care and its cost. In Oklahoma state sponsored mental health care is rationed with the more critical cases getting highest priority. By not treating early onset conditions, either physical or mental, we are mostly likely contributing to conditions becoming worse requiring more costly interventions later. While there are some medical procedures that might be deemed unnecessary for the wellbeing of people, such as purely cosmetic surgery on a normally healthy and attractive person, I believe that basic health care is a right and thus falls under the definition of the common good for which governments have some responsibility.

The assurance of the provision of health care is more than charity or even compassion for I believe people are our most valuable resource. Created in the image of God, all people have been endowed with talents and skills necessary to make our society function as God envisions it. When we as a society fail to enable each person’s full potential, we are negatively impacting the full fruition of God’s kingdom.

The reports of Jesus’ ministry found in the gospels illustrate the level of importance he gave health care. Our scripture today tells of his healing both a small child, who would not have been considered of much value at that time, and an unclean woman, who sought his healing in the anonymity of touching the hem of his garment. His care and concern for the least of the people is surely a plumb line for our care of each other.

Prayer: O Great Physician, let your healing powers surge through us as we work toward all your children’s wholeness. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.