There was an error in this gadget

Daniel Nuzum's audioboos

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sometimes the obstacles bring blessings

I had an interesting experience in a cafe yesterday. having ordered a coffee and standing at the front of the queue I realised to my horror as the lady handed me my Americano that I had no money with me. Rather apologetically I was mentally preparing myself for a hasty and hopefully understated retreat to keep my dignity intact! I smiled and hesitantly said "I'm really sorry but I have forgotten my money. Would it be OK if I paid next time?"  As I asked the question there was something about the lady that struck me, a recognition, but then I meet many people in my work so maybe she was just a familiar face.
She fetched a pen and paper to make a note of my name and number. As I gave my name she looked up at me and said "I know you". And there in a few moments conversation the economic scales fell from our eyes as we realised we knew each other in a former life and in another place: how we had both changed! I had bought coffee from her many times over the last year and here in the day when I was embarrassed and asking a favour a moment of awkwardness rekindled a connection from long ago. This experience was a  beautiful icon of humanity. A powerful reminder to me that the obstactles in our life often make us stop and take note and this particular obstacle was a great blessing indeed...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Were our hearts not burning within us? Alleluia beyond words.


John (not his real name) had lived with Motor Neurone Disease for many years but over a period of months John’s illness progressed rapidly and it became obvious to John that he had little time to live. It was a huge loss when John lost the ability to use words: a vibrant man had now become silent. Now, instead of words John used his familiar ‘thumbs-up’ gesture to say that all was ok. John loved the story of the road to Emmaus and I read it with him often.

The story of the Road to Emmaus from St Luke’s Gospel is one of my favourite resurrection stories. Cleopas and his friend were walking to Emmaus in a downcast way. Jesus –unknown to them- was walking alongside them listening to them as they told his story. At the time it seemed that nothing was happening. Only when they sat down to eat and they broke bread did they suddenly recognise that Jesus was in their midst. 

It is a wonderful example of how gently God can become known to us. “Were not our hearts burning within us?” they asked. In such a gentle way Jesus came alongside them and touched their hearts. This is the deep connection we experience when our inner needs are met.

I will never forget one particular evening when I came to that phrase about our “hearts burning within us” when although frail, John confidently gave his thumbs-up gesture. Here, when words would no longer flow for John somehow his gesture proclaimed louder than any speech that God was near. Our hearts burned within us.

We are not defined by illness but by the image of God that each of us radiates even when our physical bodies let us down. Alleluia! 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Alleluia! new life has begun

'Resurrection' from icon in the Chapel of Christ the Healer,
Cork University Hospital
Alleluia! is the clarion call in Easter.

It shouts out the joy and thrill of new life. As a word it is bursting with hope, victory and newness. When sung it reverberates deep within us as we literally embody the word.

In a hospital environment it is a feeling experienced when we receive good news, when we receive results that an illness or a disease has been cured; that a treatment or surgery has been successful. It is a feeling that many survivors of cancer long to feel when the dreaded 5 year check-up looms.

For Christians, Easter Day is the day that brings hope that pain, suffering -even death- is transformed by God in Christ.
Now, there is nothing that cannot be transformed and healed even when physical cure is not possible. This is good news indeed.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Paschal Moon: Cosmic Significance

The date of Easter moves each year. Many say that it would make more sense for the date to be fixed in the same way that Christmas is. However, the fact that the date is set on the cycles of the moon and nature speaks in an overwhelming way of the cosmic significance of what we celebrate tonight.

Every time I attend the Easter Vigil, I take a few moments to savour the full circled 'Paschal Moon' and marvel. As we lit the paschal fire outside our hospital tonight to bring the light into the chapels the long night of waiting and darkness brightened by the unassuming light that simply is.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen
The Paschal Candle at the
Chapel of Christ the Healer tonight

Visiting the grave: reality sets in

Today in our Holy Week journey we find ourselves in that strange zone that grieving families experience when everyone has gone home after a funeral and somehow while their lives go on, we are left trying to make sense of what has just happened. It is a numbed place where the reality of the death of a loved one begins to set in. The pain that was somehow numbed by the funeral, the presence of loved ones, the cards, the sympathy now begins to wear off and the reality of the rest of our lives without the person we love begins. They are gone. We miss them.

A visit to a grave the day after a funeral is a sobering experience. Seeing the mound of clay clung like a mounded and body-shaped blanket over the place that yesterday was a hole into which our loved one was laid makes it so real that this is indeed reality. 'Earth to earth, ashes to ashes...'

This photograph is of my father's grave the day after his funeral: his birthday is today...

Today, Easter Eve, there is a strange 'nothingness' as we reflect on the enormity of what God has given to us by sharing the most painful experience of death to give us hope...

And so until tomorrow... we wait...

Almighty God,
your son through his death and burial
hallowed the grave.
Be with us as now we journey on in the hope of resurrection.
Be our companion and our guide.

May we live by faith, walk in hope and be renewed in love,
until the world reflects your glory
and you are all in all.Amen 
(adapted from the Book of Common Prayer ©RCB 2004)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday: Join us for prayer by Twitter and SMS from 19:30 GMT

Join us this evening for our live tweet Taizé Prayer around the Cross as we pray for all who carry the cross of illness.
Please send a tweet to @goodfridaycuh and use hashtag #goodfridaycuh 
or send a SMS text to +353873939142 

before or during the service to be included in the prayers.

Many names have been sent to us already and we will include them all. If you are in the hospital you can also use the small cards provided to write the first name of someone for prayer and place in the basket in the chapel.

Eternal God,
in the cross of Jesus
we see the cost of our sin
and the depth of your love:
in humble hope and fear
may we place at his feet
all that we have and all that we are,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen 
 -from Times and Seasons

We adore you O Christ and we bless you for by your cross you have redeemed the world.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maundy Thursday: loving the dirty, smelly parts of me too.


Food is essential to human life and wellbeing. When our insides, our guts, let us down, food can become be hard to stomach -often literally. The pain associated with a diseased gut can have us writhing. A very powerful and external manifestation of when our gut lets us down is when things get so bad that a colostomy is the treatment. 

We don't find it easy to talk about such things which adds to the stigma of now having to handle in a new way what we rarely have to face head-on -our faeces. It takes a lot of getting to used to. Our faeces now leaves our body through our abdomen and is collected in a bag. 

It can have an enormous impact on our sense of being, our sexuality, our desirability, our body image, our confidence. Today as we hear again the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet let us give thanks for all our bodily functions. As Christ washed dirty, dusty feet so too today if you feel undesirable and self-conscious, feel the embrace and love of the God who adores you: all of you.

Heavenly Father,
your Son washed the feet of his friends,
help me to feel your warm and tender embrace today.
Help me to love my body even when it lets me down.
Even in illness your image shines from deep within me. Awesome! Amen


This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our Taizé Service of Prayer around the Cross, tomorrow,  Good Friday at 7:30pm please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie or tweet to @goodfridaycuh and use hash tag #goodfridaycuh or send a SMS to +353 87 3939142If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM





Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wednesday in Holy Week: betrayed by our own cells

In our Bible reading today we hear of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, one of his close group, 'one of his own'. You can read the story from John's Gospel by clicking here.

When our cells mutate to become cancerous it can feel like a huge betrayal. A betrayal of something that should by its very nature work with us and for us.

Why would or should one of our own cells turn from working with and for us to be so virulently against us and try to take us over?

There is something very frightening about cells that turn cancerous. These are cells that cannot even be seen by the naked eye and yet they can topple our bodies from health to despair. All can seem well on the outside and yet deep within destruction can be at work.

Going for a biopsy to test for cancer brings us into a place where we realise that there are many things we cannot control in life. The picture above shows a slide of cancerous cells on the left as seen through a microscope.

Dear Lord,
every cell in my body needs to work together in harmony to keep me well.
Help me to appreciate every cell of my body.
When cells let me down and I feel betrayed
help me to lean on your love where you care for every part of my wellbeing. Amen

This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our Taizé Service of Prayer around the Cross on Good Friday at 7:30pm please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie or tweet to @goodfridaycuh and use hash tag #goodfridaycuh or send a SMS to +353 87 3939142
If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday in Holy Week: Save me from this suffering

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane prayed that the cup of suffering might be taken from him. A very human response to an overwhelming pain that he was enduring. And yet deep down he knew that there was no way around what was a path of suffering but only a way through.
The diagnosis of illness can bring us to a 'Garden of Gethsemane' experience where we want to bargain with God to find an easier way. Yet, we know deep down, like jesus did, that there is usually no way around but only a way through. A way through that we somehow find the strength to accomplish despite the odds and our human fears.  While we may hold our hands up to our face to block the view ahead we know that it also opens our eyes to see that there is no other way but to journey on.

Dear Lord,
like you I want this cup of suffering to pass from me
yet I know that I must journey through.
be my companion, my strength and my guide
and walk beside me all the way. Amen.


This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our Service of Prayer around the Cross on Good Friday at 7:30pm please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie or a tweet to @goodfridaycuh and use #goodfridaycuh or a SMS to +353 87 3939142
If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday in Holy Week: fragrant love & anointing. Thank God for our feet

Our feet are often the most neglected parts of our bodies (especially for men!) and yet they carry our complete load and are our connection with the earth beneath us. Each of our feet has 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. They are complex parts of our body that we are unaware of most of the time unless they become strained or damaged. As we wear shoes most of the time we have lost their sense of connectedness with the earth beneath us. We have lost the sense of how our feet connect us with the ground we tread on and in many ways we have dampened the ability of our feet to be sensory organs.

On this Monday in Holy week as we journey with Jesus towards the cross we hear again the gospel story of Mary anointing Jesus feet with perfume.  (Click here if you would like to view the reading) A beautiful act that in many ways points towards his death and burial. The feet that walked into jerusalem yesterday to the victory shouts of Hosanna and welcome are now set on a very different path where 'hosanna' will quickly become 'crucify'.


Dear Lord,
as you journey towards the cross this week
journey with me in my illness and pain.
As Mary anointed your feet with ointment and love
so please anoint me with your healing love and presence.
Amen

This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our Taize Service of Prayer around the Cross on Good Friday at 7.30pm  please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie or tweet name to @goodfridaycuh using hashtag #goodfridaycuh or send a SMS to +353 87 3939142

If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday: facing illness head on to find God


Today, Palm Sunday we here again the story of the journey of Jesus into Jerusalem. All seems well, in fact all seems jubilant and festive as Jesus is acclaimed by the crowds who shout 'Hosanna'. There is a carnival scene and yet with hindsight its hard not to think that Jesus is marching with a false sense of security. Things will change rapidly when the emotions of the crowd will turn on Jesus. 'Hosanna' will be replaced by 'Crucify'.

Illness can be a bit like that. Life is going along nicely and then completely out of the blue something can go seriously wrong and our lives can be changed forever. It might be a heart attack, a stroke, an accident, a sudden attack of a dormant illness. It can feel that the world is against us and we want to cover our faces to stop us from looking at whatever it is that is in front of us. Yet, we know that in order to move forward we need to look at whatever it is  and to look at it head on and face it. Only then can we start to move forward.

Almighty God,
On this Palm Sunday as Jesus faces an uncertain future
give me the courage to face whatever is ahead
with confidence and trust in your presence
where nothing can shake your love and care for me. Amen


This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our weekly eucharist on Sunday mornings at 09:15 please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie 
If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sensual, tender, extravagant and scandalous love


Imagine the scene, Jesus is at a dinner party and Mary opens a jar of expensive balm and warms it in her hands and then rubs it into Jesus feet. The touch of her hands made more gliding as the balm melts and is absorbed by both her hands and Jesus feet. An effortless-life motion as the balm is rubbed in. Meanwhile the perfume from the balm starts to fill the room. People didn't usually take such liberties. Even in our day it would be considered an intimate act. This is not something that can be disguised or hidden.

This causes discomfort and Judas the 'money man' tucks into Mary about the waste of money.  Imagine what could be done with the money? Yes, the money could be spent on the poor; but would it?

Here in this act Mary wastes her treasured perfume on Jesus in an action that would never be forgotten and that was poignant beyond measure as he journeyed towards death.

It is a wasteful extravagance and for me it speaks so powerfully to how we care for those who are ill. It speaks so powerfully about how we lavish the best care, skill, science, research and -above all- love on those who may never be able to pay it back. Palliative care is perhaps the best example of this.

In your illness, suffering and pain may you know the overflowing and extravagant love that God wants to lavish on you for no other reason than simply because he loves you.

Tender God,
thank you for lavishing your love
generously, wastefully and  lovingly on me.
May I sense the perfume of your presence
in the midst of illness.
Amen
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our weekly eucharist on Sunday mornings at 09:15 please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie .
If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio every Sunday morning at 09:15 on CUH102FM

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Love that no illness can take away: Finding God and Life in illness.

This week as we continue our Lenten reflections on finding God and life in the wilderness of illness we hear in our Gospel reading from St Luke today about the story of the 'Prodigal Son' and the overflowing, generous love that is demonstrated in the actions of a father towards a wayward son.
During illness we can feel unloveable as our bodies let us down; yet even when our body, mind or spirit is ill we still reflect the image of God who continues to create and recreate within us. 

A powerfully emotional story about unconditional love and a window onto the love that God lavishes on each of us. If you wish to read the parable please click here.

As God embraces you and holds you tightly have the courage to embrace whatever frightens you today, befriend it and allow God to create and recreate even in illness, even in you.


Dear Lord,
you lavish your overflowing and unconditional love beyond measure.
As I journey through illness
touch me, hold me, embrace me and love me.
Amen

This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our weekly eucharist on Sunday mornings at 09:15 please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie .
If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pearls of Life: Spirituality for today

I was privileged to lead a series of workshops today on spirituality for young people in our Diocese who are to be confirmed by the Bishop this year. This annual gathering is always engaging and inspiring and I always learn more than I share from the young people who come. A wonderful team of leaders from our Diocesan Youth Department join the Bishop and his team to make the event a meaningful experience for young folk on their confirmation journey.

I used the Prayer Beads that were created by Bishop Martin Lönnebo from the Church of Sweden as a resource for thinking about life and faith. These prayer beads are close to my own heart and I have used them in many different contexts with people as a means to pray and reflect. These have ranged from young parents holding vigil with a seriously ill baby, a teenager battling chemotherapy, an older man with a brain tumour who lost the ability to speak to an elderly woman following a stroke. At the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital the stock of beads is depleted within days of becoming available.

In each case I try to write or record an individual guide for each situation so that they can be truly connected and relevant and ultimately the user creates their own prayer that makes sense of their own situation. Somehow, the prayer beads capture the imagination of the user and are flexible enough to be adapted to the situation of the user.

Today however I used the Prayer Beads to allow the young people to think of their lives in totality -to explore how faith is connected with every part of life and how every part of life is connected to and part of the person that God loves utterly. These beads through touch, texture, colour and invested meaning are a wonderful way to open our minds to a connected, integrated and incarnational spirituality and faith that goes a long way to helping to make sense of the experience of God in our day. Hopefully in a small way they will be a useful and meaningful tool for our young people as each person was gifted a set of beads from the Bishop.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Finding God and life in illness this Lent: Our feet carry our heaviest loads

This week as we continue our lenten reflection looking at the body I invite you to think about your feet. Our feet are often covered up and if we're honest they are not usually a part of our body that we display at large. Yet our feet carry all our weight and connect us to the ground we tread on. Our feet are sensitive to touch and pressure. When our feet start to give trouble it affects so many aspects of our lifestyle. It is only then that we realise how much we take them for granted. The loss of our mobility is very challenging and yet those who use a wheelchair or mobility aids have much to teach us about the true value of our body.
Today, as you journey through lent think about the loads you are carrying and the impact they are having on your life. Are there any that you can let go of? Are there any that you can invite Jesus who walks beside us on our journey to share with you?

Dear Lord,
you journey beside us in good and hard times.
Be our friend, our companion 
and carry the loads we find hard.
Amen

This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our weekly eucharist on Sunday mornings at 09:15 please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie .
If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lent 2013 (2) Finding life and God in the midst of Illness

In this second week of Lent I invite you to think about the awesome reality that you are made in the image of God. Trying to fully comprehend this is beyond our imagination! When our body, mind or spirit is ill it can be very hard to feel any sense of the importance of who we are. Life can be a struggle, a strain. Continuing our theme of using our human body to reflect this Lent, even in the midst of illness think of something that makes you unique.

Dear Lord,
you have created me in your image: beautiful, loved, unique.
Even when my body, mind or spirit is frail through illness
help me to believe that even still, when I look in the mirror
I see you. Awesome!
Amen

This reflection is to accompany the spiritual space and Lenten Reflection at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital.

If you are in the chapel when you click on this page please feel free to add your prayer to the prayer card on the altar.

If you would like us to pray for you at our weekly eucharist on Sunday mornings at 09:15 please send an email to daniel.nuzum@hse.ie .
If you live in the locality of CUH you can listen in and join us for worship through hospital radio on CUH102FM

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The invitation to reflect on wellbeing and illness this Lent at the Chapel of Christ the Healer, Cork University Hospital has brought many prayers from patients, staff and visitors to be placed on the Altar for inclusion in our Sunday Eucharist. I am always struck by the openness and honesty of these heartfelt prayers to God. Each prayer is placed on the prayer board using a sticky note. It will be my privilege on Sunday to weave these prayers into our 09:15 Sunday corporate prayer in the Eucharist that is broadcast throughout the hospital and city by Hospital Radio CUH102FM. Where is God to be found in the midst of illness? Why do our bodies let us down? Is physical physique the marker of wellness such as that represented in the male torso that is our image this week? Surely we are more than this.
Prayers brought to the Altar
Loving God, 
who inhabited our human frame in the person of Jesus Christ
fill me with your holy and life giving spirit
that I may have inner peace, and health
that goes beyond my physical body when it aches or groans. Amen

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lent 2013: Finding life and God in the wilderness of illness...

This Lent the beautiful Chapel of Christ the Healer at Cork University Hospital is a space to reflect on the wilderness of illness. All too often we take our health for granted until a symptom or accident throws a stumbling block on our path.

Each week in Lent there will be a different focus and invitation to reflect on our health and wellbeing as a lenten discipline and an exploration of illness in a hospital context. A different image of the human body will feature week by week to provoke thoughts and reflection.

This first week the image is of a healthy male torso. A reminder that even though things can look well on the outside that this is not always the case. Visitors to the Chapel are invited to reflect on the things that distract you from what is really important in life. What can you let go of?

In addition, visitors are invited to write the names of those they would like to be included in the prayers at the Sunday eucharist on the prayer notice on the altar.

Dear Lord, 
as you entered the wilderness for 40 days, 
give me the strength to let go of the things that clutter up my life 
so that I can find true health and life. Amen

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The beauty of temptation

The seductive Venus Flytrap...
During Lent many Christians try to give up something in an effort to be deprived of some unessential habit or luxury. It is in part, linked with the ability to resist temptation. Throughout history temptation is portrayed as something wicked and nasty(perhaps that's too strong!).

However, the uncomfortable truth is that temptation by its very nature is beautiful and attractive. Temptation seduces us into its trap with the allure of flirtation with the goals of necessity, of fulfilment, of life. To see temptation as anything other than attractive is to miss the point and to fall into the trap of self-denial.

After all if temptation was not attractive we wouldn't be interested and life would be so much easier! Being sufficiently aware of the seductive beauty of temptation will in part give us the insight to know that it is flirting with us, dancing with us, stroking the 'arousable' areas of our life. Mastering temptation is to acknowledge it head-on and thereby to be in control of it and not it of us! So what are the temptations I need to acknowledge and master? A challenge this Lent.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday: from Palm to palm...

A pilgrim at the Chapel of Christ the Healer,
Cork University Hospital sent me this today 
Ash Wednesday is always a moving experience in hospital. The words "remember you are dust and to dust you shall return" take on a whole new meaning in the midst of illness and frailty. They are words that are sobering at the best of times, but what about when each word flakes like an ash that is too powerfully real? "Remember you are dust..." strikes a deep chord when your physical body is tired and worn and struggling against the reality of illness. "Remember you are dust..." as the gritty grain of the ash is traced in cross-like strokes across a forehead or as in our Chapel sometimes on the palm. The grit of ash, of former glory from palm leaves that were waved in joy and expectation last Palm Sunday now reduced and traced on another palm that holds the lines and the story of our human lives. Glory and mortality, joy and pain, love and loss, fire and oil, palm leaves to ash. The palm that has grown from the earth now burnt, ground and traced into the palm of our human frame. Cradled almost eucharistically, the same palms that receive the broken body of our saviour in the eucharist also cradle the brokeness of our humanity traced across the lines of our life. As the ash sinks in it takes the form of our palm lines and leave their mark.

"Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return" is a sobering reminder that the physical, beautiful bodies that we struggle with, love with and inhabit will indeed return to dust as we are transformed to glory. So yes, Ash Wednesday is a good day.