Prayer for Liverpool
My dearest mother had always been ill – from my earliest memories of her to her final day. And even that wasn’t the full story – for her health difficulties were there from aged seven, until she died, just shy of eighty-five. As a young boy, I remember accompanying her to some of her many clinic appointments; long trips on the bus and then walking into the centre of Manchester from where we lived on the outskirts. The sweet treats I would get from the doctors and nurses there, whilst my mum saw the many healthcare professionals. Mum saw so many throughout her life, that there was a standing joke – if she needed treatment in a different hospital, her notes were probably taken in the back of a van, there were so many volumes of them! I guess in today’s digital currency, she would have a whole cloud to herself!
I guess that was the main trigger for me; to respond to a vocation within healthcare – a desire to find a cure for mum. Even though I didn’t end up in that area of medicine, when the calling came to a scientific life of helping cancer patients, it still resonated with a longing to help and care for people. For my entire professional life, that calling has been either within or associated with the NHS…for nearly 50 per cent of its actual existence. For even when I was studying and training for the church in theological college, I was still active within my scientific societies and part of a national committee on radiotherapy and oncology – the one I chair now for the British Institute of Radiology; the oldest institute of its kind in the world.
So, the NHS has been and still is a major part of my life – now primarily in teaching, training and developing those working in radiotherapy, mainly in our NHS. And it is round about this time that our graduates would be in the Philharmonic Hall, receiving their well-earned degrees and most then going off to start work in the NHS. However, because of the effects of the pandemic and the huge draw on NHS resources over the last few months – an effort we should all be immensely grateful for – some have actually already started work; employed under special conditions to get on the treatment front line early. So, our congratulations go to them already in numerous ways – as we have all saluted the unstinting hard work which has happened and actually, within cancer services, is about to increase dramatically….as the backlog in referrals and treatments is addressed.
But the work they do isn’t just a clinical job – it is more than that. In many news stories we have seen front-line workers being clinical AND spiritual support; holding the hands of dying patients, just when it was needed most – becoming surrogate ‘family’ because true family members sadly could not be there. The love and care which they bring to their patients, whoever they are, is paramount; it is spiritual; it is loving in all its various forms. And for the most part it stems from themselves, who they are – distinctive, compassionate, individual….in much the same way that we know from our faith that Jesus was. His ministry was always there with love first, with compassion, with tears, with care.
As part of the graduation ceremony for the healthcare professions, they all declare an oath; similar to the original Hippocratic oath, but with newer touches specific for the universal, inclusive society that we are, that we should be….that our faith calls us to be. It’s called the Declaration of Geneva, and I leave it with you – to reflect upon….but also to compare with our own faith, and perhaps ourselves to learn from the world around us – for the world around us is God’s world; all of it. Consider the words, and feel the deep, spiritual sense underlying it, especially in the language used….recognising it is for those of all faiths, and none; for all professionals.
At the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession:
With my love and prayers for you all, as always….
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.
Prayer for Liverpool
brought to you from Liverpool Cathedral
St James Mount
Liverpool Cathedral is a place of encounter.
Built by the people, for the people, to the Glory of God