Pastoral Letter for Wednesday 15th July: 

In his July Letter our Minister, John, announced that the Family Service online on Sunday 26th July would take the form of a “Pet Family and other animals Service”. He invited our pets to participate. This triggered off a recollection in my mind of a lovely old story. 

A shop owner placed a sign above his door that said: “Puppies For Sale.” Signs like this always have a way of attracting children, and to no surprise, a boy saw the sign and approached the owner: “How much are you selling the puppies for?” he asked. The shopkeeper replied: “£20.” 

The little boy pulled out some change from his pocket. “I’ve only £5 on me at the moment; but can I please look at them?” he said. The shop owner smiled and whistled; and out of the kennel ran the mother dog followed by five cute and tiny little balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said: “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The shop owner explained that the vet had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn’t have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame. 

The little boy became excited. “That is the puppy that I want to buy.” The shop owner said: “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.” The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the shopkeeper’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said: “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you £5 now, and £1 a month until I have paid for him in full.”

The shop owner countered: “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.” To his surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his trouser leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the shop owner and softly replied: “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!” My friends, we all need someone who values and understands us.

Some theologians have referred to Jesus as “Christ the Wounded Healer”. His ability to heal our wounds flows from the fact that He Himself experienced our wounds. The God we see in Jesus doesn’t study our sufferings from a distance in a cold and detached way, but wrapped Himself in our flesh and felt what we feel.

Liz joins me in sending our love to you all.