During song request time at our nursing home service recently; Bella raised her hand and asked; “Can we do something different today?” Then she wheeled herself to the front of our little room and plugged in a cassette player. When she pushed the play button the room was filled with the sounds of a lady’s trio from her church singing a song which she had written many years ago.
The experience was eye opening to me. As I heard the music and words I realized again that not only Bella but everyone in that room had something beautiful to give. No matter what chapter we are at in our lives today; God still has some surprises to tell us about if we will listen for them. It may be that things seem dark and confusing in your world or in the life of someone you love for whom you have become a caregiver. If the waves seem to be filling your little boat faster than you can bail them out; why not consider the words from the chorus of Bella’s song this morning?
The Raging Storm
In the midst of all this raging
Comes a loud and piecing cry
In the storm and in the tempest
Be not afraid – For it is I!
God has not forgotten us. He specializes in commanding storms and calming fears. He is with us all through every part of our journey. If we open the ears of our heart we will hear Him calling; “Don’t be afraid because I am right beside you!”On the cross as Jesus took the penalty for our sins He cried out; “Why have you forsaken me?” in order that He would have to never leave us and He has promised to be with us to the very end!
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them and say; “Truly I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”
One night recently one of the reporters on the news said we shouldn’t panic about the Corona virus in China because it seems to only kill the old and weak. I confess that I was only half listening and didn’t give it much thought at the time. But the next day as I was singing for people at the nursing home and watching the faces of my precious friends it hit me those old and weak folks that the reporter mentioned are our moms, dads, older brothers and friends.
Though we as believers shouldn’t be fearfully hiding at home we need to recall what Jesus had to say about people considered helpless and less valued in this world. Instead of running in fear we should first pray. Ask God for His grace to help and then ask what we can do to put our arms around all of His family all over the world!
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me please.” And he said to them, “I am Joseph whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Genesis 45:4-5 ESV
Too often the unknown stories of residents in long term care are the wounds left behind by unresolved family differences. But the good news is that God isn’t finished with any of us yet. Remember that as a young boy, Joseph had a dream which got him into trouble with his brothers. Some of us probably think of Joseph’s life as a blueprint for success. We figure that if we can just stick it out like Joseph did, then one day we will get the great job, the big home or the perfect marriage that we always dreamed of. But the story behind Joseph’s problem was his father’s favoritism and because of it the hatred that his brothers had towards him. But then God intervened.
God’s dream for Joseph was not about his becoming rich powerful or successful. God’s intention was for Joseph and his family to discover that the greatest treasure of all was forgiveness and reconciliation. Though we can never undo our past, we can find a way forward by learning to forgive, accept and allow God to restore us. The separation of anger, distance or even death can be bridged because on the cross Jesus gave his life so that ours could be restored. This morning’s news is that no matter our memories of past hurts or sorrows; God can heal and through forgiveness discover His greatest purpose is love.
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 ESV
Last time we talked about how much people need for us to serve communion at their nursing home. This week we are going to look a little deeper into what exactly God has in His heart for nursing home ministry as a whole. When Jesus first gave us the sacrament of communion He summed it up with the phrase; “Do this in remembrance of me.” The act of communion which is blessed and holy; is still only an avenue by which we are remembering our connection with Jesus. What really matters is not the ritual; but the relationship which the ritual is meant to remind us of.
In that same way; it is important to not only serve communion; but to remember that everything we do in ministry is to bring people into relationship with Jesus Christ. The bread and the wine are regular reminders the of the cross; our forgiveness and salvation in Christ. As one part of the body of Christ our job is to also act as reminders of God’s grace. We should use whatever means; opportunities and talents that we have; including bringing in the communion meal; to build relationships that help people connect to Jesus Christ.