We have both been immensely blessed by being able to travel to the USA to gatherings of the Pediatric Chaplains’ Network. To be able to be part of such a supportive community of practice is something I don’t take lightly. As different tragedies have taken place so messages are sent and prayers mobilized and you know that you are not alone in whatever it is you are facing. I joined those responding and we are praying particularly for Jessica and James, the local chaplains we know best, but also for all the emergency responders along with some family friends of Sally’s. This is the prayer that one of the chaplains forwarded for those facing Hurricane Harvey:
In times such as these it is hard to know exactly what to pray – but being aware of God’s presence and peace is one I use a lot.
Christ be beside me, Christ be before me.
Christ be behind me, King of my heart.
Christ be within me, Christ be below me,
Christ be above me, never to part.
Christ of our loved ones, carry our burdens
Hear all our questions, anger and pain
Heal the deep hurting, comfort our grieving
Clear our confusion, let hope remain.
Christ in the new day, Christ at its setting
Seeking his blessing, knowing his will
Hearts that are aching, in his arms resting,
Gently he whispers, ‘Peace to you still.’
(Alister Bull, 2009 to the tune of Morning has broken).
This is one of fifteen new songs which along with seven prayers and litanies and four poems are in this booklet which is being launched today at the annual meeting of the Paediatric Chaplaincy Network being held at Helen and Douglas House Hospice in Oxford. The resources have been compiled by Nick Ball one of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Chaplains and have been written by various members of the Paediatric Chaplaincy Network.
What characterizes the resources in this booklet is an honesty and willingness to say to God and to others some of the many difficult emotions and thoughts that are associated with the loss of a child while acknowledging the hope that we have through faith in God.
Singing is therapeutic, and sometimes a few lines from a hymn or spiritual song will lodge in my mind and be my theme for the day. Today it is the final line of this hymn, “Gently he whispers ‘Peace to you still'” – it’s a day I need to hear those words.
The books are available from Red Balloon Resources at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – email@example.com.