Thursday, 21 April 2011

' A substitute for another guy"

My church family have been reading though Mark's gospel in the lead up to Easter. Today's reading was from Mark 15. In this short exchange is encapsulated the significance of the cross of Christ.
 V6..Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews? asked Pilate,  knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.  But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews? Pilate asked them.
Crucify him! they shouted.
Why? What crime has he committed? asked Pilate. 
But they shouted all the louder, Crucify him! Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Substitution is actually built into the fabric of our lives. Soldiers giving their lives in the service of their country, mothers giving their lives in the act of childbirth, rescuers sacrificing their lives to save others.

However somewhat negatively in small and large ways a more unhappy sort of substitution is powerfully at work in all of us. Whether getting to the shortest que at the supermarket before the next person, pulling out in front of someone in my car, shifting blame away from myself and onto others, or bartering down a trader whose lifestyle may be far below mine-it's all about conveniencing myself at the expense of others.

At the heart of the Easter story is Jesus giving up his life for my sin. Dramatically inconveniencing himself so that I can know forgiveness, peace with God and a great hope for the future. The cross is indeed a many splendoured jewel, but substitution is at the heart of it.

' God put the wrong on him who never did any wrong, so we could be put right with God'   2 Corinthains 5.21 The Message

Monday, 18 April 2011

"Get an ambulance!"

I can just remember a time (nearly 50 years ago!) when I had to go and ring for an ambulance for a member of my family. It was about a 200 yard walk to the nearest telephone kiosk and it was a very big deal. Currently it's all to easy to call for an ambulance and the service is overwhelmed.
Just the other morning I was asked by one of my receptionists to ring back one of my patients who had phoned for an emergency ambulance because of severe abdominal pain. She had been told that she would have to wait a couple of hours. I phoned and offered to visit straight away. I was confident that her abdominal pain was likely self limiting and would respond to an analgesic injection. When I phoned her back an hour later she was feeling a lot more comfortable and in fact her pain settled thought he day.
I couldn't help but reflect on how things have changed over my 30 years in general practice. When I started it was very unusual for patients to phone for an emergency ambulance, and they would virtually always ring their GP first who would generally visit and assess the situation in the home. Now even GPs advise 'ringing for an ambulance' when called about various symptoms without assessing the situation first. There' s no doubt that this approach is appropriate for severe chest pain when a myocardial infarction is suspected since speed of hospital treatment is of the essence, as it is in the case of stroke.  But being ambulance trigger happy is out of control. What is the answer?
I don't know but I do know that if  my recent patient with abdominal pain had been taken to hospital she would have had a prolonged stay in A+E with multiple investigations taking up many professionals and their time. It was a situation so much better dealt with in general practice. But GPs are so much busier during their daytime working hours and the interruption of a home visit during surgery can result in a rather backlog of work upon return to the surgery.
Answers on a post card please.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Now that's what I call music

My one and only musical 'performance' was playing a simplified piano version of Jesu joy of man's desiring by J S Bach. That was difficult for me, but how about this version-albeit an advert for a phone!!

A message from the other side

No, not that side! But thank God got through surgery ok yesterday. And thanks to all for love support and prayer.