This Editorial originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of FOCUS.
For many of us, this has been a very trying season. In the face of it all, where did we turn? For some, there was the endless supply of streaming shows. There was Tiger King, Ted Lasso, and a myriad of superhero shows. For others, there was the struggle to grow a sourdough starter, catch up on those DIY projects, or pick up a new hobby. For yet others, social media became a simultaneous source of escape and connection. For many in healthcare, there was no time to binge an entire season of a show, sign up for TikTok, or engage in heritage baking, unless it was during stints in quarantine after an exposure to the coronavirus.
In the absence of the daily distraction of our pre-pandemic routine, many tried to carve out some sense of stability in unstable times. But how did we as Christians react? What did we seek to steady ourselves? As we heard in the past issues of FOCUS – we turned our gaze to the service of others, we found new ways to engage with our faith community, and we placed our trust in God. Christian communities across Canada took to a variety of video services (ZOOM, livestream, Facebook live, etc) to encourage the poor in spirit and preach the Gospel. We were drawn to the One who remained constant through everything – God. While being inundated by a gushing fountain of input and distraction, we sought instead the water Christ offered the Samaritan Woman at the well.
Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:13-14)
Our faith has taught us that what we needed most was to be fed; to be centered in Christ; to accept His love when we need it most. What a gift, that God pursued us in our challenges and our hearts inclined to Him! Whatever endurance we had was founded entirely on that bedrock of faith: God was and is with us.
Imagine what would have happened to us if we did not know that God was there? For many in health care, God has become superfluous, like an appendix which no longer serves a purpose. His removal, it is supposed, will have no impact.
This issue of FOCUS takes on the task of unpacking why God is a necessary part of health care. EFC Executive Vice President and Resident Theologian Dr. David Guretzki reminds us in his article that God cannot be limited by any restrictions, be they regulatory, legislative, social, or other. Rabbi Wayne Allen calls people of faith to remain steadfast in the face of changing public claims about ethics. CMDA Canada Associate Staff Twylla Downey shares the challenges to truly wholistic care, which includes spiritual care, and how she is prepared for discipline.
Over the millennia, God has inspired the faithful to serve and heal in His name. Taking on the long tradition of Christian involvement in hospice care, Dr. Vivian Walker shares with us how God worked faithfully through the building of the Hospice at Glengarda in Saskatoon. The story of how this hospice came about is an inspiring and replicable blueprint. Access to quality palliative and hospice care is a Christian mission that makes an incalculable difference in the life of the patients and families served.
Just as we Christians sought out living water during the challenging days of the last several years, so too we are compelled to create opportunities for those around us to encounter Christ. We are called to do so even though it may not be welcomed by some of our colleagues. That encounter may only be to share Christ’s love through our healing ministry, or it could be accepting the opportunity to pray for or with a patient. It could be advocating for access to services rather than capitulating to a request for euthanasia. In whatever way we are able, we are called to be like Christ, the Great Physician.
The overwhelming message that has become clear through assembling this issue is that God cannot be contained, removed, or rejected. Death could not hold him, and neither could any human effort. As we enter into Easter, we have the most powerful example of the immensity of God’s love for us. He knew us in the womb, and will know us when we take our last breath. If we die surrounded by people or utterly alone, He will be with us. No sign posted on the door of a hospital could prevent Him from moving among us. He will roll away any stone with ease to pursue His beloved.