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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Incarnational = Presence in Pain

Two of the words that drive me in ministry phylisophically, relationally and methodalogically are Incarnational and Missional.

These past two weeks in ministry, from a Productivity stand point I have had a lot of interuptions.  But to call them that at all misses the whole point of what ministry is all about: Ministry is about relationships and connecting people to the presence of the Kingdom of God with their present reality.

Last Saturday we had a funeral.  Sunday I spent an hour at the home a church member hours after his wife passed away, comforting him and his daughter.  Later that evening another of his daughters entered the hospital due to overwhelming stress brought on by her sense of personal loss.  The next day the husband himself was rushed to the ER where he was experiencing a multitude of symptoms. Since then 2 other church members have enter the hospital and our church family will have yet another funeral this Saturday, to celebrate the life of a godly wife, mother and lady.

To be honest as a pastor I feel pretty inadequate during these times.  All I can do is offer my presense, extend my thoughts and prayers to them and their family members.  I have come to realize making so many of these visits over the last several days that surpisingly, that is enough.  I know no amount of talking theology or spouting platitudes or worse cliche's will help so I really struggle with what I should say.  Amazingly, on one hand I don't have to say much, and on the other, as long as I use common sense, whatever I do say is enough.  

Its all about presence: Just being there shows you care. If they are a family in your congregation your teaching and previous oppurtunities to shape their theology will already provide them the comfort and persective they need in these times of crisis, pain, and loss.  This is not the time to teach but rather the time to see teaching applied to their life.  The power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people of faith is amazing to me.  I could not imagine being married to someone for 57 years and then suddenly be without them.  

I am only 34 and it's ridiculous for me to think I could relate or emphathize but in the smallest of ways.  What I can do is be there, be present in the pain.  I have literally had the priviledge to be the presence of Jesus in people's lives this week to remind them that He loves them, He is in control, He knows our pain and suffering, and He has even secured salvation and a place in eternity for their loved ones.  I find that to be such an honor because I certianly could not do that in my own strength. 

I have heard amazing inspiring stories this week.  Funny stories that have made me laugh and helped the family member's laugh.  I have heard stories of love and devotion too.  Stories of faithfulness to each other, to Christ, and to His church.  The healing power of presence and the the practice of listening this week has overwhelmed me as someone who is wholly inadequate to help heal anyone of such deep emotional pain. Yet through the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus I have been humbled to see those things happen through me to effect other people. I am humbled and honored to serve such faithfull people and much more so to serve such and incredible God that could, let alone would, use me in such a way!

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