October 28, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Healing and Sirach

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Doctors, hospitals, Hospice, and rehabilitation centres have been in the news lately. At some time in our lives we have to go to a doctor or hospital to be healed. The same way an alcoholic and/or drug user will be admitted into a rehabilitation centre to ‘dry out’ and receive medical help for a cure. Hospice is caring that focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of the symptoms of terminally ill patients. It also focuses on healing the emotional, spiritual and social problems of dealing with impeding death. This care can be given in institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and even the dying person’s own home. A concert at Camana Bay was held recently to raise funds for our local branch of Hospice.

The departure recently of head ophthalmologist, Dr. Jyotin Pandit, from the Lions Eye Clinic at the Cayman Islands Hospital left staff scrambling to reschedule patients at the busy clinic. There has been no word yet on when the renowned Indian surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty’s medical hospital is to commence construction here in East End.

There is a proposal to build a rehabilitation centre here for patients struggling with alcohol addiction.

Health Minister Hon. Mark Scotland said recently, “One of the biggest challenges is the culture whereby patients expect that they should be treated and not have to pay for it.”

Dr. Steve Tomlinson, founder of Cayman’s private hospital, the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, echoed a similar sentiment. “The first place they (patients) want to go to is the US – they expect this at the very least if the care is not available here,” he said,  “And it is government that ends up paying for it.” At least three people died recently in London with HIV after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelic Christian pastors. Prof Jane Anderson, director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, in Hackney, London said, “We see patients quite often who will come having expressed the belief that if they pray frequently enough, their HIV will somehow be cured.”

And it is not just AIDS  (HIV) victims. There are many Christians who believe they do not need doctors to heal any illness they have. They just need to pray and if it doesn’t succeed, it’s because they did not have enough faith. Benny Hinn is a well known televangelist faith healer famous (or infamous) for his “Miracle Crusades”. This is based on Jesus Christ who through his ministry cured many sick people including raising Lazarus from the dead.

St. Luke is an apostle and evangelist who was the first Christian physician on record. Many hospitals are named after him. There is no record of him saying there was no need for his profession. And then there is Sirach? Who?

Jesus ben Sirach was a Jewish scribe who is attributed to have written the Apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus, also known as the Wisdom of Sirach or just Sirach. This week (Tue 18) was the feast day for St Luke and the first lesson appointed in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches is taken from this book (38:1-4,6-10,12-14). The last verses are important and read, “There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, for they too pray to the Lord that he grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.”

We therefore need healing at the hands of doctors, we need hospitals, we need rehabilitation centres and we need money to pay for all these things. But there is no charge for prayer. When we are really desperate. When all things we try fail. We all have that last trump card to play. May all the plans for our health care centres here come to fruition and also pray personally we will have no need of them.

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