Sign-up for free e-newsletter

Viewpoint from Rev Peter Glanville 10/03/2017

PETER GLANVILLE webRev Peter Glanville
Chaplain at the James Paget University Hospital
Deacon in the Roman Catholic Parishes of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston
He also worked for many years as a broadcaster, journalist and manager with the BBC

also published in the Yarmouth Mercury

 “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven”
(that is - if nobody minds!)

dove leftI was wandering around the Chapel in the James Paget Hospital clearing up a bit, when I noticed one of our prayer cards not in its usual place on the prayer board inside the door, but lying in a prominent position on the lectern from which a chorus of clerics pray and preach

In large capital letters – with all the “in your face” impact of a “Trump- tweet”, it said:


I have no idea who wrote it, and why the writer found the challenge particularly relevant to a Hospital Chapel. I showed it to several of my colleagues. They were all were much of the same opinion. “Wow- rather you than me - over to you on that one!”

But as we discussed it, more questions than answers arose:

  • Why should anyone suffer at all in a modern hospital?

  • Can a hospital become a place of focussed and expected suffering?

  • With modern treatments and pain control, surely hospitals can eliminate suffering!

  • Is it true, that “the meek” suffer more than others because they complain less?

  • Or do “the meek” suffer less because of their philosophical or spiritual nature?And so the discussion continued

Dove rightBut let’s look in more detail at the word “meek”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the adjective meek as follows:

“quiet, gentle, and not willing to argue or express opinions in a forceful way"

In the accompanying thesaurus it adds:
“a personality which is mild-mannered, soft-hearted,  tender-hearted, and full of TLC”

These are the basic requirements surely of a modern hospital and certainly the challenges of chaplaincy. But shouldn’t they be at the heart of all those with a responsibility for care and compassion?  From Parliament to palliative care hospices, from councils to care homes. From friends and families. Charities, neighbours, and all those who worry more about giving than receiving?

Of course the answer is yes, but is it easy to find such harmonious help in our modern world?

We are bombarded with the aggression and aggravation of the advertisers. Then there are the protestations of the “new age” prophets - accusing all others of “Fake News” but without any evidential backup for their own new “gospels” of social existence

And then of course the expectancy of the instant “quick fix”
“You’re a doctor – you’re paid to cure me- I need a second opinion!”

But the meek, those who peacefully accept the present in the light of the facts they perceive, can often put the present into the context of the future

They seek the truth of the situation now and put it into the concept of an eternity that awaits them. With this philosophical gift, they look to the lessons of the past, to the comforting of those present, and to the joys which lie ahead

Perhaps they really do deserve the Kingdom of Heaven
- I don’t mind personally if they get it!
(Sorry - that’s not very meek of me!)

The views carried here are those of the author, not necessarily of Network Yarmouth, and are intended to stimulate constructive debate between website users

We welcome your thoughts and comments, posted below, upon the ideas expressed here

Click here to read our forum and comment posting guidelines 

marie (Guest) 14/03/2017 15:13
when i was a child i received a christian upbringing. school and home. i have always thought myself a christian. then about five years ago i started going to church again. igo to an anglican church lovely folk. but the scriptures are read in such an old fashioned way language i barely understand. thank you for putting in common english so that i can understand The meek shall inherit the earth.