19th January

Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver us from evil. Matthew 6: 13

A dear friend of Cuthbert’s named Hildmer was responsible for the administration of law in his locality. His wife became demented. She was writhing, shrieking and salivating. Hildmer was not only deeply upset for her, he was also embarrassed that this should happen to a respected Christian couple. He came to tell Cuthbert she was ill and to ask him to send a priest from the Lindisfarne monastery to administer the prayers for the sick and dying, but he could not bring himself to tell Cuthbert the nature of the illness (‘Christians aren’t supposed to have demons or dementia’).

Cuthbert agreed to send a priest, and Hildmer was leaving, when the Holy Spirit stirred Cuthbert to call Hildmer back and tell him ‘It is my duty to come with you, not another’s’. So Cuthbert, with a group from the monastery, accompanied the weeping Hildmer to his dying wife.

Cuthbert sensed the true condition of the patient, without having to be told, and during the journey he revealed to Hildmer the things Hildmer had hidden from him. Cuthbert re-assured him ‘It is not only the wicked who are tormented like this, but sometimes God also allows the innocent to be taken over not only in body, but also in the mind. But don’t worry, for when we come to your house, your wife whom you think is dead will come to meet me. When she takes these reins of the horse which I have in my hand she will be restored to full health, and will look after our needs, and the demon will be driven away’.

That is exactly what happened.

Lord, save us from making judgments about people who are ill
Make us eager to encircle them with the prayer of loving friends
Help us discern what you wish to do in each situation
That a step towards wholeness may always be taken
Not in our way, but in yours.