My Dear Friends,

In the old board room of King’s College Hospital in London there used to hang a painting. It was an unusual tableau. It depicted two terrier dogs supporting and upholding a collie; and it tells a tale of compassion and faith. Many years ago there was a book shop in London owned by a Mr. Frederick Nutt. While Mr. Nutt worked in his shop his two little terrier dogs sat on guard outside and surveyed the scene as the world went by. The Hospital was nearby and these little dogs must have noticed the doctors and nurses and patients and ambulances coming and going. It must have occurred to their clever little minds that this was a place of help and healing. One day a collie dog dashed out into the road without looking; and was knocked down. The poor dog was badly hurt and found difficulty in keeping his balance and in walking. Mr. Nutt’s two little terriers, who are the heroes of this true story, ran forward and stood one on either side of the wounded collie. They propped him up and supported him; and gently nudged and guided him towards the hospital. Arriving at the main entrance, they barked insistently for attention. These little dogs showed great confidence and faith; great compassion and concern. And they knew where to go to get help. The painting in the board room commemorates their insight and fidelity.

Both Mark and Luke tell the story of four men who carried their paralysed friend to Jesus for healing; and who couldn’t get near him for the crowd. Climbing up onto the roof of the house, they opened up a hole in the roof and lowered him down. Jesus was standing teaching in one of the rooms below when suddenly all this took place. He must have been surprised and astonished; and I’ve no doubt he smiled in amusement at the perseverance and determination of these four friends.

It is a great thing to have compassion and concern. It is a marvellous thing to have confidence and faith. It is a tremendous thing to know where to go to get help. It is a wonderful thing to have friends. It is a wonderful thing to BE a friend.

Liz joins me in sending our love to you all.