December 8, 2023

The Editor Speaks: St Luke

Colin WilsonwebHow many readers knew that last Saturday (18) was St Luke’s Day?

So what?

Well, St Luke was the writer of the third of the Bible’s New Testament Gospels and he was a physician.

With the raging diseases that the world is having difficulty in controlling at present and I mention only two – Ebola and Chikungunya – physicians are in the front line.

Without them we would even be in a worse mess.

There are a number of Christians who believe that God is the answer and there is no need for doctors. Pray to God and all will be well.

That is true but only up to a point. God gave us physicians.

“[G]ive the physician his place, for the Lord created him”.

In The Roman Catholic church and the Anglican Church the prescribed reading for St Luke’s Day is from a book of the Old Testament that you will not find in most Bibles. The Book is Ecclesiasticus, also now known as Sirach so as not to confuse it with Ecclesiastes. Sirach was removed by men from the Bible because they couldn’t find two translations that matched from the Greek and Hebrew. Even now they have discovered them the book, along with others is still not recognised by most protestant churches as being Gospel.

This is a pity as a few years ago the oldest Biblical manuscript was found and it was Sirach.

And the greater pity is that the reading for St Luke’s Day is so applicable today.

The passage I quoted ““[G]ive the physician his place, for the Lord created him” is from this prescribed reading.

I make no apologies for publishing the complete reading as laid out in the Episcopal (Anglican) Eucharistic Lectionary for St Luke’s Day:

Sirach 38:1-4, 6-10, 12-14 New Revised Standard Version,

38 Honour physicians for their services,

for the Lord created them;

2 for their gift of healing comes from the Most High,

and they are rewarded by the king.

3 The skill of physicians makes them distinguished,

and in the presence of the great they are admired.

4 The Lord created medicines out of the earth,

and the sensible will not despise them.

6 And he gave skill to human beings

that he might be glorified in his marvellous works.

7 By them the physician[c] heals and takes away pain;

8     the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.

God’s works will never be finished;

and from him health[e] spreads over all the earth.

9 My child, when you are ill, do not delay,

but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.

10 Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly,

and cleanse your heart from all sin.

12 Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;

do not let him leave you, for you need him.

13 There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians,

14    for they too pray to the Lord that he will grant them success in diagnosis

and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.


What is even more remarkable the Book was written approx. 200 to 175 BC. Yes, over 2,200 years ago!






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