Usha and Mercy
Kisumu - Kenya


NO 3 February 2006
Scripture reading: Luke 1 : 26 – 38


Our reading today speaks to us of the way in which Mary allowed herself to be used by God. Here she was, a young girl, waiting with hope for all the good things that life had to offer girls of her age at that time. Yet, when the angel brings frightening and unexpected news, she accepts that she is to be used by God in a strange way and says, “ I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” What is it that made Mary, so willing to be used by God?

In the history of the work of the Leprosy Mission, we see how God called different people……………doctors, nurses, administrators, physiotherapists, technicians, cooks, even cobblers to serve those who were afflicted with leprosy, and how these people responded and allowed God to work through them. What is it that made them so willing to go to far away places and bring comfort and healing to those who were so destroyed in body and soul?


Dr Paul Brand, began his working life in the building trade. He did not want to become a doctor like his father, as had seen enough of disease and death. So he trained to become a carpenter and builder…..till one day, he heard the definite call to become a doctor. Many may think these five years were wasted. “ Not at all,” said Dr Brand, for they fitted perfectly into God’s master plan for his life. Years later, he found that he needed the same skills that he had learnt as a carpenter to teach the patients on whom he performed reconstructive surgery to make simple jigsaws puzzles and wooden toys at the New life Centre in Vellore.

As a young surgeon in Vellore, Dr Brand saw some people standing outside his clinic one day. “ Why aren’t they coming in?” he asked. “ Because they are leprosy patients. If they came in, everyone else would go out. ” This troubled him. On a visit to the leprosy hospital at Chinglepet, he saw hundreds of leprosy patients with severe deformities. There was very little knowledge about leprosy at that time, and he was surprised that no one had studied the problem of leprosy before. At this point he felt that God was telling him that this was why he had been sent to India. To study leprosy and work with leprosy patients. Through his research he discovered that in leprosy, the patient lost all feeling of pain because of the damage to nerve endings, and it was because of constant injuries that patients lost fingers and toes. After this discovery, he set about repairing clawed hands and wasted muscles through reconstructive surgery. The surgeries were a success, but there was still a problem. Though patients could now use their hands, the stigma of leprosy was still there. He realized that his surgery was useless unless it helped patients to live a normal life. So he came up with the idea of the New Life Centre where the patients could learn a trade suited to their new hands and learn to rebuild their life. This became the saving point for thousands of leprosy patients all over the world. All because one man allowed God to use him in the way He wanted to.


Paul Brand’s closeness to God and his daily prayer life enabled him to be the kind of person who allowed God to show him that his life was to be lived in the harsh world of leprosy. Mary, too was close to God, for despite her fears for her future, she was able to say,” My heart praises the Lord, my soul is glad for He has remembered me, his lowly servant.” Jesus had this same kind of closeness with his Father too, for it was this that enabled Him to say, “ Not my will , but Thine.”

Sometimes we feel very small and inadequate and think, “ Nobody needs me; the work that I do is not worth anything much.” At such times, the word, “call ” becomes important. Mary was not asked to save the world, or do some fantastic research or find a cure for any disease. She was called only to bear a child and she allowed God to do this through her. Not all of us are called to do spectacular surgery or make new discoveries like Dr Brand. However, we are, each one of us called to do small tasks in our families and places of work that mean something to God …………………to help the person we are with at the moment, however small that help that may be, to care for him with gentleness, listen to her with patience , speak with kindness and make a difference to them by supporting them in everyway we can.


  • What do you think God has called you to do in your place of work?
  • Can you say with confidence like Mary did, “ I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.”? What must you do to be able to come to this point?


Lord, so often I want to do be able to say,
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.”
But these words scare me.
I am afraid that what you want may ask something of me
that I am not willing to give.
I am afraid that the path you set out in front of me
Might not be the one I want to walk on.
I am blinded by offers that seem
more attractive and less strenuous.
And so I begin to walk along a path
which you have not set for me.
Help me through your grace
to be inspired by lives
that have been able to say these words.
Help me to do the small things you ask of me
with joy and love for you.

USHA JESUDASAN - ushajesudasan@gmail.com

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