MEDITATION IN ENGLISH
During the campaign Go Turquoise for the Elderly from 15 May to 15 June 2016, the people of South Africa send you, the caregivers of older persons, this meditation and prayer.
First read from the Holy Bible: Mark 2: 1 – 2
Jesus returned to Capernaum and a crowd of people congregated in and around the house. A small group arrived carrying a man who was paralysed hoping that Jesus would be able to cure him. Owing to the large number of people in and around the house, they were unable to get the paralysed man close to Jesus. So they opened up the roof above Jesus and lowered the man to Jesus’ feet.
What a gripping story! The Bible tells us that Jesus was so touched by the faith of these people that he cured the man. We often read this passage noting the miracle and sometimes the stubbornness of the scribes who took exception because Jesus said that the paralysed man’s sins are forgiven. All that is very important … but equally important is to notice the wonderful care and compassion of the friends.
This is so different from the blind Bartimaeus, abandoned by his friends and family to become a beggar outside the city. This is so unlike the lepers who had to call for help and care from a distance because their friends and family had forsaken them to survive on their own! It is so different from the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda. They were all left to fend for themselves without any compassion or care.
We don’t know who the paralysed man was or much about his background, but we know that he had good friends who really cared about him. Their faith in Jesus and that He could make a difference in their friend’s life, was the reason they went to so much trouble to give their friend the best possible care. They didn’t only carry him to the place where Jesus was! When they saw that they couldn’t get their friend close to Jesus, they took the bold step of opening the roof to lower him down to Jesus!
When you read this Bible passage, you cannot help but remember the numerous charity organisations that walk the extra mile for people in need. They go to so much trouble to help people make their dreams come true. You cannot help but see, in this miracle, the thousands, no millions of family members, nursing staff and caregivers who tend thousands of the elderly with loving care and great compassion. With infinite patience they listen to every older person’s complaint, pain and tale of sorrow and then, with immense dedication, they comfort and care for them.
When Jesus saw the faith of his friends, he said to the paralysed man “Friend, your sins are forgiven”. I truly believe that God does not miss or ignore the dedication of the caregivers of this world. Sometimes this type of dedication and care puts us to shame about the very little we do for others. That is why we want to praise the Lord in gratitude for bringing people with your kind of dedication into the lives of our aged. We pray that our Lord God will give you the power and the courage to keep on doing this good work and the wonderful way in which you bear testimony to God’s love and care in your own lives.
Almighty God and Heavenly Father, we pray that You will be present here today. We would like to offer a special prayer for every caregiver who makes your love known to the elderly of this world. May they experience your loving hand and your all-powerful presence every day and may they be filled with the Holy Spirit. Should they experience frustration or feelings of guilt, may they feel your love, encouragement and understanding enfolding them.
We also pray for an increased awareness of the pain and need in other people’s lives. We pray for all people in need and their caregivers. Fill our hearts with compassion and wisdom and help us to make a real difference in the lives of others. Fill us with your Spirit and give us the ability to do our utmost for the aged and the power to carry your love into their lives. Open our hearts and our eyes to recognise the needs of others less fortunate than we are.
Forgive us our sins and let us never forget your love.