Radio Reflection – 17th November 2015

A Giant of Justice
Paul Brand never stood above the crowd. He was of less than average height. But, in many other ways he was a “ towering giant” who left a legacy that changed the world forever.

Paul believed that all people – even those rejected by society, disabled and disfigured by leprosy – are created in God’s image. He was prepared to walk against the tide to ensure that men, women and children who suffered from the world’s oldest known communicable disease could live with hope and dignity. He faced the sobering knowledge that no one cared about leprosy. 60 years ago, 12 million people suffered from leprosy but there was not even one surgeon to serve them. Not one of the top neuropathologists had ever studied a leprosy-damaged nerve. Not one had held a leprosy-damaged hand in their own.

The prophet’s Isaiah’s words about Jesus echoed continually in Paul Brand’s ears: “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and held in low esteem.” (53:3) Paul Brand did something no medical doctor dared to do.

He held the twisted foot of a beggar in his hand and gently massaged it.

The words of Matthew pounded in his mind: Whatever you did for the least of these you did for me. Surely, those with leprosy are the poorest of the poor. They had no income, no money to buy food. They sat blindly at the corner of a busy street and accepted the coins people tossed their way.

Dr. Brand believed a gift to the starving is a gift to Jesus.

“I was naked and you clothed me…” those without leprosy lived in rags; tattered bandages barely covering their wounds. Paul washed the wounds, treated them and wrapped them with clean, sterile bandages. He did it because faith demands that we reach out with compassion to the outsider, the rejected, the despised…

For in his mind these poor people, outcast and hated, were men and women created by God.

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More Reflections for Leprosy Awareness week 2015:

Monday 16th: Guineaworm…

His father tugged at a tiny protrusion on the boy’s skin. Leaning forward, Paul looked closely and saw that the dark brown thing was the head of a worm. His dad was pulling a worm out of the boy’s skin…

Read more

Wednesday 18th: Unwanted…

Mother Teresa, an icon of Christian compassion, once said: “we have drugs for people with diseases like leprosy. But these drugs do not treat the main problem, the disease of being unwanted…”

Read more

Thursday 19th: Pain…

As a medical doctor, Dr. Brand saw a lot of pain. As a young boy he swore never to be a Doctor but to run from pain and live in comfort. But his life experience and God’s hand upon his life changed everything.

Read more

Radio Cover Photo: By Gregory F. Maxwell PGP:0xB0413BFA [GFDL 1.2 (], via Wikimedia Commons;
Children: By Rafael Robles [CC-BY-2.0];
Mother Teresa: By Manfredo Ferrari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons;
Drawing pins: By Coldbolt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons