Sunday, 16 September 2012

Radio Shropshire Pause for Thought

The regular presenter Mike George was not there today ,but it was good to meet Vicky Archer  when I went into the studio this morning. I really wanted to reflect on the fact that though the paralympians were amazing and inspiring ,most people with special needs would never manage that but are still of infinite value to God

Well - what can you say about the Olympics and the Paralympics?

The organisation was impeccable ,The crowds were enormous, the atmosphere amazing, the noise of the spectators deafening and the achievements of athletes quite extraordinary -How they deserved and appeared to enjoy the Parade in London last Monday!

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the athletics on 3rd August and will never forget the determination and dedication of all the athletes but especially Jessica Ennis as she ran the 200 metres on her way to becoming Olympic Champion in the Heptathlon

You only get a brief glimpse of these people on the tv screen, or if you're really lucky as I did in the flesh as they compete... but you don't see the hours, weeks, months, and years of training that went into preparing for London 2012.

We'll never forget the names of many of the winners - Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farrer, Jessica Ennis are already household names as is Ellie Symonds, David Weir and locally at least so are Shropshire's own Danielle Brown and Mickey Bushell.

But there were others who did not win medals whose achievements were also quite exceptional for example Derek Derenalagi who lost both his legs after his landrover was blown up by a Taliban bomb in Afghanistan. The medical staff had given up on him and were about to put him into a body bag ,when one of them detected a weak pulse. They saved his life . Now, with the help of the army's Battle Back rehabilitation program, he is a proud Paralympian.

These are inspirational people who have achieved awesome things and done what they promised to do - to inspire a generation!

But there are many other people who were not at London 2012 who struggle on in the face of incredible odds - battling cancer, caring for loved ones who are disabled, struggling with learning difficulties ….

These are people who will never win gold or silver or bronze, they will never stand on any podium or take part in any parade, but they are hugely valuable members of our community.

There is a temptation for all of us to value people by what they achieve or do in life. Sometimes I think we even value ourselves in that way.

The Bible however tells us that God values us not because of what we do but because of who we are - Human beings made in the Image Of God and loved by Him whoever we are and whatever we have or have not done - God loves us.

That is why Jesus came- to show God's love -Jesus brought to ordinary people a sense of their worth when he touched people no one else would touch and healed people no one else could heal they knew that they were cherished that their lives mattered and whoever you are so does yours.

Many years ago I was a part time chaplain in a hospice in another part of the country ,it was my privilege to spend quality time with people who were very ill indeed and to both laugh and cry with them , as in many cases they neared the end of their lives. The care in that place as in other hospices was quite exceptional... pain was controlled, care was given, people were valued, and the fact that they were valued in many cases changed their outlook on life and indeed on death.

Perhaps the knowledge that God loves us that we are of infinite value to Him will help us imperfect human beings to value both ourselves and each other more.

But whatever your outlook on life or faith - if you can see beyond jobs, money, achievements, prestige - to value yourself and the people around you… for who you and they are – then in my view you’ve struck gold!

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