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  • Shawn Thornton

The Brokenhearted and the Crushed in Spirit

Thursday - June 4th

Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Psalm 34:17-19

Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 7:1-12


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

Artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada created a stunning 20,000 square foot land mural portrait that honors the hardworking healthcare workers of New York City.

The mural, created in the parking lot next to the Queens Museum in Flushing, features Dr. Ydelfonso Decoo, a beloved pediatrician who died from the Coronavirus. Dr. Decoo, age 70, had become infected with COVID-19 while serving his hard-hit Washington Heights community.

Dr. Decoo is remembered by friends as a father and grandfather whose dedication to pediatrics was only outweighed by his love and compassion for his community. He was thinking about retiring early in the year but decided it was time to keep serving when the Coronavirus spread in his community. He began to see the statistics regarding infection rates and higher death rates among blacks and Hispanic immigrants. The doctor, an immigrant himself, felt a special call to continue in medicine and to serve those hurting within his own community. He was willing to place himself at high risk for others.

Decco helped form SOMOS. Somos is a network of 2,500 immigrant physicians that serves thousands of people in the low-income and immigrant community. SOMOS commissioned the mural to be painted in honor of Dr. Decoo and the other immigrant physicians who have fought the pandemic. The mural attempted to capture Decco's profession and his humanity. Of course, His clothing and medical mask communicate his profession, but Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, the mural's artist, drew with precise care Decco's eyes. He wanted anyone viewing the work of art to see the kindness, compassion, and service in the doctor's eyes.

There is something so important about understanding the hurt, pain, and suffering of others. A comment posted on one of several articles published online regarding the mural and Dr. Decco's story described him well. The feedback was from someone the doctor had treated several times over many years. The post said that Dr. Decco cared for the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit. That comment caught my attention. The Psalmist uses that same language. The person commenting seemed to see in the doctor these same qualities found in the compassion of God. In Psalm 34:18, we read, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

As we explored the Sermon on the Mount last week, we looked at the first few Beatitudes. One of those was, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). We mourn for all those who have suffered from the Coronavirus. We mourn for those who contracted it and died from it while serving others. We are grateful for and honor those medical professionals and anyone who works in healthcare settings. Many of them entered medicine because they wanted to serve their fellow human beings. Like Dr. Decco, many of them feel they are called to help the brokenhearted and the crushed in spirit.

Today, take the time to thank God for first responders, doctors, nurses, and all who serve in medical settings. Put a special emphasis on thanking Him for those who go out of their way to risk their own well-being for those who are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.

Let's have eyes to see those that God sees. Let's seek to provide help to those who are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.


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