Despite all our technological marvels, sometimes the only miracle we have to offer each other is an open hearted, accepting and forgiving presence.
Building this kind of healing presence is central to the work of Whanau Ora, an organisation committed to helping families in need help themselves. However, Winston Peters, leader of the New Zealand First Party, is objecting to their funding a series of family gatherings because he says it's a 'squanderous waste of tax payers money'.
When budgets are tight, valuing something as intangible as presence is a hard ask as Winston Peters seems to be saying, so this ancient story about Jesus may help. Thomas Moore, former monk, theologian, psychotherapist and best selling author retells it in his book, Care of the Soul in Medicine.
In this story Jesus goes by the name of Lithargoel. It's a word that breaks down into the Greek words Lithos (stone) and argos (silver) and the Hebrew el (angel). Jesus is presented as the shining spirit stone. Around his waist he wears a packet of medicine. He is a healer and promises to give people pearls, but he means himself. He is the pearl; he is the medicine in the same way as all of us are the best medicine for each other.
Some people think that Jesus was a wonder worker but the wonder in all the Jesus stories is that he shows up, first as a fragile human baby utterly dependent on others for his existence, then as an open hearted, accepting and healing presence in the muddle of ordinary life. What that allows people to do for themselves is miraculous.