Dear Friends in Christ,
The history of salvation is the history of God with humanity. It is the history of God who loved us first and our response (or our attempt to respond) to God’s love. It is also the story of how we live out our vocation to love all the people whom God passionately loves. The ways we strive to respond to Jesus’ command to tend his sheep (Jn 21:15).
An essential dimension of this response is the ministry of pastoral care. This ministry is a compassionate effort to imitate Jesus’ care of those in need of healing, support, guidance, reconciliation, and care.
Historically, the clergy has assumed responsibility for the pastoral care of God’s flock, but we are all called to care for one another, to pray for each other, and to sustain those experiencing sickness, trauma, and loss.
Here at Grace, lay pastoral caregivers (trained through The Community of Hope International – COHI) assist your clergy in caring for the needs of all parishioners in a variety of situations through meals, cards, phone calls, visits, and prayers. Their ministry is crucial. Yet, we are all called to heed Jesus’ three-fold command to “tend my sheep” in John 21:15-17.
Some of the ways we can support one another in times of physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional need include:
- Praying for wholeness – we can always pray in faith for healing for those in need, that they be made whole (we can pray using the Prayer List in the bulletin)
- Avoiding the need to fix things – we cannot change circumstances or fix problems, but we can be present to share grief.
- Listening openly and actively to those who are sharing their hearts with us – we also listen for how the Spirit of God is at work in our hearts.
- Imitating Jesus who walked alongside others – we ask God to help us to see others as Jesus saw them and to love them as Jesus loved them.
This season of our shared life together gives us ample opportunities to bless one another with our prayers and our presence, to listen to one another and to listen for the work of the Spirit in our lives, and to follow the witness of Jesus who showed us how to love God and to love others.
May we lean into these opportunities to receive and share all of the blessings God intends for us.
Yours in Christ,