Welcome + Worship + Witness

The Rector: ‘I Packed your Parachute’.

Third Sunday of Easter
26 April 2020
10.30 Morning Service

Revd Nicholas Mercer

I have never forgotten a story I was told at the start of an operational tour of the Balkans

The Commander told us about US Navy pilot in Vietnam whose plane was shot down 

The pilot ejected and parachuted safely to the ground and then spent the next 6 years as a prisoner of war 

Many years later, the pilot and his wife were having dinner at a local restaurant back in the US

Whilst they were having dinner, a man at another table came up to him and said

“I know who you are, you flew jet fighters in Vietnam… and were shot down!”’

How in the world did you know that?’ asked the pilot   

 I packed your parachute,‘ the man replied. 

The story was told by the Commander to illustrate how important everyone was on his base

It did not matter – who you were – or what rank you held – we all depend on each other

The story has a particular resonance with the times we are living though at the moment

We are slowly coming to recognise the importance of each man and woman in our society regardless of wealth or rank

In the front line are our wonderful doctors, nurses and care workers

Whereas doctors have a certain social standing, nurses and care workers are so often ignored or marginalised

They are very often given very poor rates of pay and employment contracts that are hardly worth the paper they are written on

Yet these self-same people have stepped into the breach to save our lives and those we love

Yet it in not just those at the sharp end of the epidemic –

There are others such as hospital cleaners and porters, or elsewhere such as shelf stackers, lorry drivers, delivery or bin men – to name but a few

They are invaluable in our society, particularly in a crisis, but so often treated with indifference in ordinary times

Shamefully, some in Society, have spent the best part of three years trying to create a hostile environment for our overseas workers

Many of those self-same people however are now saving our lives. They are the ones “packing our parachute”

And so on this day when we remember the story of the Good Shepherd there are so many lessons we can draw

First and foremost, as the lesson says, we are one flock, with one Good Shepherd

There is no hierarchy in God’s fold and we are all on an equal footing

Secondly, God reminds us that he will

“seek out the lost, bring back the strayed, bind up the injured and strengthen the weak”

We too as a Society, must follow his example and seek to do likewise

Finally, we must remember that all our blessings come from God

The pasture on which we graze comes from him.

We need to nurture that gift and, above all, behave equitably whilst we do so