It was my delight to join with the pupils of Wyvern College for their end of year Evening Worship at Salisbury Cathedral on Thursday this week. Pupils from year 9 read ‘The Teachers’ by John Bell which is from his book ‘He was in the World’
I met him on the train, and before long I felt I knew him, I felt I could trust him.
He was in education:”Learning for Life” he called it.
I said I was interested in education too, so he invited me to come with him to where he taught and learned.
It was off the main road near the fire station.
It didn’t look like a school….
You walked in the door of a second – hand shop and , going round the back, you came to a big room with a lot of people in it.
We stood and looked around.
In the corner was an old man with a white stick.
Beside him sat a girl reading him the newspaper.
‘Nice to see young folk helping the blind’ I said.
‘Oh,’ he replied, ‘he is actually teaching her how to see.’
Across the floor, in the direction of the toilets, came a wheelchair.
A paraplegic boy of 18 sat in it and a boy the same age pushed it.
‘It’s great when friends help each other’ I said.
‘yes’ he replied, the boy in the chair is teaching the other how to walk.’
An old women lay in a bed at the bottom of the room.
She was covered with open sores.
A women, much her junior, was dressing her wound.
‘Is she a nurse?’ I asked.
‘Yes’ he replied, ‘the old women is a nurse. She is teaching other how to care.’
Seated round a table were a group of young couples.
A doctor in a white coat was talking to them about childbirth.
He spoke slowly and used sign language with his hands.
‘I think it’s only fair that deaf elope should know about these things’ I said.
‘But they do know about these things’ my friend replied. ‘They are teaching the doctor how to listen.’
And then I saw a women on a respirator, breathing slowly.
These were her last breaths.
and around her where her friends, smoothing her brow, holding her hands.
‘Its not good to die alone’ I said.
‘That’s right.’ he replied ‘but she is not dying alone. She is teaching others to live.’
Confused and not knowing what to say, suggested we sat down.
After a while, I felt I could speak.
‘Seeing all this,’ I said.’I want to pray. I want to thank God that I have all my faculties. I realized how much I can do to help.’
Before I could say more, he looked me straight in the face and said, ‘I don’t want to upset your devotional life, but I hope you will also pray to know your own need. And I hope you will never be afraid to be touched by the needy.’