In the Caring Community of God

posted Mar 29, 2019, 1:56 PM by Tricia Sheffield

Blessings of peace and grace be with you!

In my Lenten devotional Pastor Emily Heath writes this: During Lent our first inclination is often to turn inward and to reflect spiritually on ourselves. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but I often wonder if we aren’t a little short-sighted. We do not take our spiritual journeys alone, so why don’t we spend more time in Lent looking at our whole communities as well?

During Lent, it’s a good time to reflect on the communities that we are a part of, and ask whether they are healthy or whether they need a little extra care.

Too often our rugged individualism convinces us that we just need to improve ourselves. In Lent, though . . . we remember that God does not call us out alone. Christ calls us into community with one another.

I carried this reflection with me as as I visited and prayed with people this week, as there were more pastoral care moments and concerns in our congregation than usual. It did indeed seem that our community was in need of a “little extra care.” At one point, my heart was grieving for those who were in pain, and at another, rejoicing with those who were sensing God’s renewing, healing light. 

And here is the holy moment. 

Whenever I was with a person, I knew we weren’t alone. To be sure, I felt the hovering presence of the Holy Spirit, but I also felt you all with me. Even though you were not physically present, I could sense your praying for the person, holding them up to the nearer presence of God, offering support whenever it should be needed. 

As our Vision Statement says, “We are a church on the side of love for all God’s people – providing for those who are in need, advocating for all oppressed peoples, and caring for our earth – we love because God first loved us.”

Truth told, right there.

So, thank you, beloved ones. I’m grateful that we are a congregation that understands we don’t travel our spiritual journeys in solitude. I am thankful that we know that it is not right that the human should be alone (Genesis 2.18), but that we need each other; indeed, we are called, if not commanded, to be in communion with God and one another. And it is with gratitude that I can say the people who needed care this week felt supported and held by your commitment to Christ and to our church, as did I. 

Yesterday, I took a moment to sit out on the front porch and put my face in the Spring sun. As I did, I breathed in, thanking you all for turning inward during Lent, but also for turning outward and seeing all the ways the body of Christ needs a little extra care. And I prayed that you would also take good care of you.

In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish