Editorial Keynotes

Way Stations of Mercy for Human Sufferers

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

How beautiful, as borne upon the wings of the morning, are the songs of the nurses, nurses' aides, and student nurses, as they sing their hymns of praise at the start of each new day in these Way stations of mercy for human suffering—our sanitariums and hos­pitals. To many of the bedridden sufferers the night has been filled with aches and pains, tor­tures and tensions. Through the weary hours they have tossed and turned, longing for sleep, praying for relief, and waiting for the breaking of the day. Then comes the welcome sound of nurses' voices lifted in song, bringing fresh hope and cheer for that new day.

Theirs were not trained voices. But they sounded sweet, and I found myself humming and then singing along with them recently from my sickbed. It is a little feature that might well be employed everywhere.

For the group of singing workers at worship it is just a little pause for praise, dedication, and supplication at the beginning of a new period of service. Then starts the ministry of mercy for the day. Back and forth they go in their multiplied tasks, some of which are pleas­ant, others quite uninviting. This ministry con­tinues on through the night. Always they come with a smile, to give the helping hand. But, doubtless, most impressive of all is the nurse's simple prayer at the bedside at the close of the day, when the patient is tucked in for the night. It is the crowning act of all, producing a deep impression.

And back of these constant nursing attend­ants, are, of course, the doctors—men recog­nized as the best in their respective lines. Their specialized knowledge—and their close co-oper­ation with, and loyal support of, one another in the diagnosis and treatment of the varied ailments that afflict those who come for help—may well serve as a challenge and example to us preachers. Here is close teamwork of the highest order. We need more scientific sound­ness in our search for truth and our exposure of error. We need more respect and encouragement for serious study and true ministerial at­tainment by one another in our ranks. We need to foster and to esteem ministerial skill and con­tribution in this most delicate and difficult work in the world—the healing of the souls of sin-wracked men and women. Yes, here is a lesson for us that is needed.

Here in this way station of mercy the chap­lain's vesper hours, along with his personal visits and prayers, and the relayed Sabbath, Wednesday, and Friday night services, mean much to the sum total of influence for good by the institution. And the wholesome food, care­fully selected and scientifically prepared, exem­plifies the dietetic ideals of the denomination. And the stress upon the principle of rational therapeutics is most gratifying. I know—for I was recently an emergency patient at the White Memorial way station of mercy for human suf­ferers in Los Angeles. So these are matters of firsthand contact and knowledge.

In addition to these larger institutions we need modest wayside stations of mercy all over the world—clinics and hospitals of various sizes, sanitariums, and treatment rooms scat­tered over all lands. We need institutions staffed with doctors and nurses, dietitians, tech­nicians, chaplains, and Bible instructors imbued with true medical missionary vision, whose light shines out day and night to alleviate the suffering of humanity, who will faithfully teach the principles of sound, healthful living in their broad and comprehensive scope. We need to press the reformatory and educational feature, and to keep close to the blueprint. We need a better blending of the medical and evangelistic, so that patients may be ever more effectually led to inquire the way of truth and life, and to come fully into the remnant church of God.

Shine on, then, medical institutions, with your varied ministers of mercy ! Exemplify the spirit, devotion, and sacrifice personified by the model, the Great Physician. Be a blessing to humanity. And don't forget to sing your morn­ing message of hope, thus to proclaim your faith to the patients in this appealing way in your daily devotional periods. And, above all, don't forget your bedside, good-night prayer. It means more than you will ever know. Utilize every facility at your command. And God bless you all.

L. E. F.


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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.

August 1947

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