Reflections from the Rectory May

Life begins with small beginnings “Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift – there is nothing small about it.

 

 

 

 

Sitting out in our garden of late , we have witnessed the new beginning of a family of blackbirds nesting in a bush just a few feet from our patio. The adults are very busy feeding their young with what seems like endless supplies of worms. These little fledglings are completely dependent on the adults. For us they are an example of hope and new life around us . Their dependence is very much like those in intensive care suffering from the coronavirus. And yet, tirelessly they bring food for their young just like we are doing in our own homes and as we reach out to others .

 

    In our villages, during this crisis, there have been many small acts of generosity and kindness. This strikes at the very heart of what it is to be human as life begins with small beginnings. In my reflections (https://www.mellsgroup.church/holyweekeaster/mells-group-reflections.php) there is an overwhelming sense of folk reaching out to help others. 

 

In a wider context, we have many who are delivering essential services to keep the nation going and that includes our farmers. Each Thursday we continue pay tribute to all these folk . On 12 May we remember Florence Nightingale, whose life and her work exemplifies the caring profession’s extraordinary vocation just like every member of the NHS and carers today.  It is a fitting tribute to her that the emergency hospital opening at the ExCel Centre in London is called the NHS Nightingale Hospital.

Florence Nightingale was born 200 years ago, on 12th May 1820. Best known as the Lady with the Lamp who saved many lives in the hospitals of the Crimean War, she was also a social reformer, a statistician and the founder of modern nursing.

She was named after the Italian city of her birth, but the family moved back to England the following year, and she was brought up in Derbyshire. Here – and elsewhere – she had several experiences that she believed were calls from God to devote her life to the service of others.

She never married, but among her several close friends was Sidney Herbert, who became Secretary of War and helped to make her work in Crimea possible. Some claim that she reduced the death rate in hospitals there from 42% to 2%. She introduced hand-washing and other hygiene improvements, but she never claimed personal credit for reducing the death rate.

Her work inspired nurses in the American Civil War, and in 1883 she became the first recipient of the Royal Red Cross. In 1907, she was the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit. She died in 1910. Her image appeared on the reverse of £10 banknotes issued by the Bank of England from 1975 until 1994.

Friends, as we are in the midst of this crisis may we urge each other to focus on the lamp of faith of Florence Nightingale which shined into the darkness of the places of anxiety and suffering. 

Heavenly Father, help us to draw strength from the deepest wells of our souls and pray that the risen Christ will be that little flame in our hearts and the hearts of those who are suffering at this time .

Fr Clive