04 October 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The hands that hold us are the hands pierced on Calvary.  They hold while the wired-up body lies in intensive care and the machinery keeps some heartbeat going and we wonder whether the person is still there.  Whether the body is inert or wrenching, we stand in reverence before what may be passing between that person and the Lord.  He knows.  With our prayers we draw closer.  We hope that person is in the hands of the Lamb who was slain for him, for her, for you.  No separation there either.  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 316.


Michael L. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D said...

It's been a few years since that internship in downtown Baltimore, but the memories remain sharp and stark, in this area. The ICU is one of the most unsettling secular icons speaking to the connection between man's condition, at heart, and the heavenlies.

People's reaction to the patient's total helplessness and passivity is either transfixion in the presence of a revelation, or revulsion (a visible retreat into denial, I think, accompanied by an all too natural hand-wringing and a hidden Edenic agenda "What can we gods do, here?"). I've experienced both reactions along the way, I confess.

In truth, though, in the hodge-podge setting of wires, tubes and sighing machines we witness an enfleshed soul in the very hands of God of God, Light of Light; being busily knitted once more ... in what man sees through a glass, or maybe a stethoscope, very darkly ... to a delightful repair. Or, we are privileged to observe a process of one being guided home on the sturdy shoulders of a nail-holed Shepherd, One who has steadfastly promised that we the sacramentally watered and pastured are surely His, no less by name (Is 43:1). He will never let us go, even in murky passage through the valley of Death.

The thoughts of Prof. Nagel are profound, as always. Many thanks, for that gift, and the chance for some reveries this AM. Happy birthday, Rev. Fr. Weedon!

David Cochrane said...

Yes the knowledge when my dad was in ICU that Jesus was there caring for him was of great comfort indeed. And he will be there at my last hour as well. What a beautiful thought indeed. Thank you for posting these excerpts from Dr Nagle. And Happy Birthday!

God's peace. †

William Weedon said...

Amen, Dr. A and David - and thanks for the birthday wishes!