URC Daily Devotion 5 July 2023

Wednesday, 5 July 2023
Commitment to quality of care

St Mark 2:1-12

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them.  Then some people came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them.  And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  ‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’  At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”?  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic—  ‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’  And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’


In the summer of 2008, I was a busy communications officer working for an NHS Primary Care Trust in Birmingham. The busyness then saw me planning an event for 200+ patients, staff, and members of the public to celebrate the NHS in its 60th year. Fast forward 15 years and my professional life looks quite different, but I remain convinced that the NHS is something worth celebrating and protecting. 

In the reading, we hear of one of Jesus’ many healings. It is not the man himself that has come to Jesus to be healed but rather he is carried by four very determined people. Undeterred by the crowds, they literally lift the roof to get their ‘patient’ to Jesus. These are the actions of people who care – they care what happens to this paralysed man. They are seeking his good and healing where presumably he cannot. 

Though not explicitly articulated in the values of the NHS, I believe the underlying value is love. Not love in the sentimental sense, but rather the kind of love that is about the seeking and valuing of every human being’s life, their health, wellbeing, and dignity. To me, love as expressed in a ‘commitment to quality of care’ is just like the actions of those who took the roof off the house and lowered the paralysed man so he could be healed by Jesus. 

It’s the kind of love that’s about self-sacrifice – yes NHS staff are paid to care, but I can tell you that for most, the job of caring is a vocational calling, and most are paid nowhere near what they are worth for the life changing impact they have.  

Whatever our political leanings, I think this is clear – the universal offer of health services, free at the point of need, is perhaps the closest this nation has ever gotten to ‘loving’ without condition as God loves. I pray that we will each do all we can to preserve this clear foretaste of the Kingdom for the good of every human child of God.  


God who loves without condition,
help us to reflect your love,
valuing all people as equal,
seeing them as you see them, 
full of dignity and worth. 
May we hold firmly to these values, 
striving always for systems that are fair. 
Bless the NHS, 
bless all who offer loving service,
and bless all who will be cared for today. 




Today’s writer

The Revd Jonnie Hill, East Cheshire & Derbyshire Borders Missional Partnership  



New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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