Sunday, 8 September 2013

Put your hand in the hand of Jesus

The Archbishop of York offered the BBC presenter Andrew Marr a striking gesture of solidarity as he returned to work after suffering a stroke – taking his hand live on television and offering to pray for healing. Dr John Sentamu is himself recovering from life-saving cancer surgery and during the interview about politics, dispensed with formality to tell the broadcaster of his faith in miracles.

Mr Marr, 54, had returned to the air after a nine-month absence following a stroke which has affected movement down his left side. The interview confirmed a return to public life for both men.

The Archbishop spoke widely on issues ranging from the conflict in Syria, and the elections in Zimbabwe to gay marriage and the living wage closer to home.As the interview concluded Mr Marr turned to Dr Sentamu and said: “Archbishop, thank you very much indeed for that – you have also been ill so it is wonderful to see you back as well.”

Dr Sentamu replied: “I would say the same and I just want to tell you what happened to me when I had this terrible illness, friends prayed for me and friends encouraged me and I just hope the same happened to you.”

Then pointing to Mr Marr’s left arm, he quoted a passage in the Bible which recounts the story of Jesus healing a man with a disabled hand. Mr Marr reached his arm across to the Archbishop who clasped his hand.He said: “In Luke Chapter Six, there is a man with a hand like yours, Jesus raises it up and I’m going work hard, I'm going to work .... there that your hand begins to work."Nice to see you back, nice to see you.”

Mr Marr laughed and thanked him adding: "Needs some work on it, needs some work on it."

What struck me about the interview was that the opportunity for the Archbishop to offer prayer came through an act of solidarity between the two men who had both had life-threatening health problems. What could have been an awkward moment actually became quite a touching one - excuse the pun - when one man who had found help offered hope to the other.

Jesus offers us hope and help as one who has suffered. When the Archbishop reached out to Andrew Marr he was following in Jesus' footsteps.

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