I do not think it is a surprise to any-one for me to say that I would never have imagined this first month at Holy Comforter to go the way it has. While I don’t think I had misconceptions about what ordained pastoral ministry entailed, some of the more emotionally difficult aspects of the call have come quickly for the congregation, particularly with the passing of Bob Williams and Jane Deaton. It is difficult to say goodbye to those we love, even in the midst of our hope and faith of reunion in the resurrection.
However, through these difficult times, I have been uplifted by the congregation’s support for the families. It speaks to the warmth and support of the congregation about which I have heard so much, that the congregation has shown eagerness to sup-port the families through cards of condolences, through attendance at funerals, and desire to care in other ways as well. I know that these families have been, and will continue to be, named in prayer by many of their Holy Comforter family.
As the Body of Christ, we are brought to-gether in Christ to be for each other what, in times of struggle and hardship, we cannot be for ourselves. We have seen this in our congregation in recent weeks, as I mentioned. Sometimes there is someone in our community who has the exact skills needed to help someone with the major issues they deal with, such as a financial planner who can help someone budget and plan to improve their financial difficulties, or a doctor who can give guidance on how to seek and receive proper medical care. Sometimes we can-not be the solution to the obvious problems, but we can support them and help with anxiety with the smaller tasks. There are things many of us can do, such as mowing lawns, doing housework, preparing meals, or offering childcare. Without a doubt, inten-tional prayer for one another is something we can do which orients us toward “the other” and away from ourselves.
This kind of caring for one another requires two things. It requires us to see the complete person who is struggling, not just as the challenges they face, and realize that we can help out in the little battles someone fights. And two, it requires us to let others into our lives in a way that allows us to receive the help that is offered. The first can be difficult in the midst of our own busy and distracting lives. The sec-ond, however, often seems to be even more challeng-ing of the two. When we confess our faith in the Body of Christ, we confess that Christ’s love for us, as well as our love for Christ and one another, unites us to one another in a very deep and real way. The implica-tions for this love and unity can bring to light some of our sinfulness, in particular self-centered lives and pride. We don’t mean to, but we can easily let our lives turn in on ourselves and only our families and ignore the struggles of those around us, our brothers and sisters in Christ. At the same time, we can easily be too proud of the perception people have of us and too ashamed to let others know of how shaky a foun-dation our “perfect life” is set on. Both of these chal-lenges, the difficulty of reaching out and allowing oth-ers to reach in, keep us from living into the love and unity with our brothers and sisters that we have in the Body of Christ.
As we move back into school years and sports, as well as church programs picking up, and our lives seem to get busier, let us remember to look to our neighbors and offer gestures of solidarity in struggles, and allow them to do the same with us.
“so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.”- (Romans 12:5)
Yours in Christ, Pastor Micah