My late mother and father are in my “cloud of witnesses” and in my “balcony of approving faces.” I have no doubt they are praying for me now, eager for me to finish my course with integrity, but hopefully not too eager that I should finish anytime soon! If your parents have entered into the more immediate presence of God, no doubt they are in you cloud and in your balcony, and are among the “saints” who are praying for you, too.
The Late Bishop Herbert Spaugh is also in my cloud and in my balcony. During my first year in ministry, I was the associate pastor at The Little Church on the Lane in Charlotte, N.C. where the bishop was the Pastor Emeritus. I met with him once a week, and he tried to spiritually and mentally “pump me up,” so that I would someday make a useful Moravian pastor. The Bishop was assigned this duty by the Provincial Elders’ Conference, but he would have undertaken it anyway.
I shall never forget one conversation we had about hospitals, doctors and nurses. Bishop Spaugh said that he had often observed nurses working with their patients, their hands moving with confidence over them, doing what had to be done, but doing it with a touch that was healing. The bishop said, “the hands of a nurse are the hands of the healer.” Of course, for the Bishop, the ultimate healer, who touched the sick through the hands of the nurse, was always Jesus Christ. The gospels teach that Jesus reached out and touched the sick for the purpose of making them whole. Bishop Spaugh was a member of the Order of St. Luke the Beloved Physician, and he believed in the laying on of hands in a liturgy of Christian healing. He said that nurses and doctors were already engaged in the act of healing with the help of the healer, whether they realized it or not. He said that the best do realize it. They understand their role, and God’s. As Dr. Andreas Farrar, the founder of the French College of Surgeons, once said, “The Physician binds the patients wounds, but only God can heal him (or her!).”
During the present Pandemic, our nurses and doctors and health care workers of all kinds are not just the hands of the healer, they are our heroes, too, risking their own lives to take care of the rest of us. Let us hold them up in prayer daily. We are not yet a part of “the great cloud of witnesses,” let us hope we will not be for a while, but we can be a part of their ” balcony of approving faces,” affirming them, and cheering them on with gratitude and appreciation.
Stay safe. God bless you. Pray for our health care workers, grocery store clerks, police, firefighters, soldiers, and everyone else who is working to keep us healthy and strong, as individuals, as a nation, and as God’s children in this world.