Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
I went on a hospital visitation the other day with one of the pastors from our church. Visitations are actually a pretty large part of this pastor’s job, and this was the second time I’ve been able to go out with him as he makes his rounds. As we walked up to the rehabilitation section of the nursing home I was given a little information on Laverne: she and her husband had lost a daughter in a car accident, the marriage began to fall apart, and a few years later he left her. She’s been a member at our church since that time 20 years ago, but her health is now bad enough that it is a challenge for her to leave her home.
We signed in at the front desk, walked down the hall, past a frail and fading gentleman who sat sleeping in his wheelchair, found the right room, scooted past the quiet occupant of the first bed, and met Laverne reclined in the second. Because I had been out with this pastor once before I knew a little of what to expect about how he would spend our time with Laverne, but it was still pretty amazing to observe. We walked in, and he spoke a few words, listened a lot, read a passage of Scripture, asked if there was anything he could do to help her out at all (we arranged to have communion administered to her in her home the next week), prayed, and then left. It was touchingly simple, and yet touchingly powerful. What particularly stood out to me was when the paster, an older gentleman with a deep weathered voice, read Ephesians 3, subbing in her name for all the appropriate personal pronouns:
“For this reason I bow my knees before the father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant Laverne to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in her inner being, so that Christ may dwell in Laverne’s heart through faith - that she, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that Laverne may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Hearing to Word of God is a powerful thing. As he read, even the quiet occupant of the first bed tuned in to listen. When we had said our goodbyes to Laverne and were walking back out past the first bed, the occupant smiled and thanked us as warmly as if it had been her name in the Scripture rather than Laverne’s.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
This summer I am helping to lead a Bible study on the topic of hospitality. We are hosting a "Supper Club" and gathering together to plan a meal, prepare it, and fellowship around the table while we enjoy the blessing of delicious food. I am basing the study around the book Making Room, Recovering Hospitality as a Christin Tradition by Christine D. Pohl. I am sitting at Barnes and Noble feasting on the authors words as she describes the beauty of the call to hospitality. She describes how hospitality combines the practice of bearing God's image, helping to dignify that image in other people, as well as being reminded of the gospel as we welcome the needy and broken. What a gift and blessing to practice this in our lives. I thought I would give you a taste into what the author describes. I am really looking forward to continuing to put this study together and then discussing this with other sisters in Christ.
"God's guest list includes a disconcerting number of poor and broken people, those who appear to bring little to any gathering except their need. The distinctive quality of Christian hospitality is that it offers a generous welcome to the "least," without concern for advantage or benefit to the host. Such hospitality reflects God's greater hospitality that welcomes the undeserving, provides the lonely with a home, and sets a banquet table for the hungry."
Praise God that because of Christ, we as broken, needy, and poor can now dine at his banquet table. My prayer is that I learn more this summer how to respond to this grace that I have received, and bless others with this same love.
Painting: Supper at Emmaus (Caravaggio), Milan