This month I began learning along with a small group of other prospective volunteers how to help with hospice care. The love and dedication of the woman who is training us has been both an inspiration and example. As a volunteer chaplain and a song leader my ministry at Nursing home has focused on what to say or sing to give hope. This week I was amazed to see just how much hope quiet listening can give. I came away from the orientation sessions with this one quote. I pray it will be a blessing to you as well.
“The quieter we become, the more that we can hear!”.
If you are like me and wish God would speak more clearly, then ask yourself- How quiet has my heart been this week?
The still unfolding story of yet another deranged man with a gun – this time at a nursing home touched a nerve with me tonight. Whatever the motivation for the violence will soon be lost in another shouting match over 2nd amendment rights and gun control. The three dead employees will soon be forgotten by everyone but God. But in spite of the night of hatred, division and fear that seems to get darker by the hour there is still hope. God has not nor will He ever abandon us. If we cry He is listening. When we lie awake sleepless with anxiety, He stands watch. In the deepest despair He plants a seed of hope. God’s kingdom whether in the life of an individual or a community always starts with the tiniest of seeds. Will you plant your seed of hope with me tonight in prayer that together we might see it grow one day into a mighty tree of faith?
Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Luke 12:7 ESV
Joan* (not her real name) sits in the corner of the room in her wheel chair with a smile. She cannot make cookies any longer for the grandchildren. Joan will not go to choir practice or sing in the Easter pageant this year. In the harsh viewpoint of the world, Joan’s is a useless life. But when God looks down He sees a happy child who gave joy to her parents. He remembers a loving wife, a wise mother and a caring neighbor. Most of all God has engraved on His heart the very moment Joan gave her life to Him and today after more than 80 years it is still His. So when Jesus walks by her in the wheel chair He stops and delightedly gives her all His attention. Because in Joan Jesus sees not a life that is useless but a life that has been well lived and loved by God!
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luke 15:4-5 NKJV
Hi! “I’m Helen*. I’m from Kaiser Valley!” she greets me every week. Helen (not her real name) is perky, funny, and she now lives in
the Alzheimer’s ward at the nursing home I visit. Helen has an amazing memory for the verses of all the hymns. For most of her life, Helen attended church,sang in the choir, gave her offerings and like so many others she never once receives a visit from her pastor.
Being a pastor isn’t an easy job. Most people don’t understand the pressures, the demands and the temptations that we face every week. But pastors are also shepherds and as shepherds we are called to help to take care of sheep. Some sheep pay their tithes faithfully, dress nicely and shake our hands to tell us they loved the message. But some sheep lose their way. In this parable Jesus is talking about a lost sheep just like my friend Helen from Kaiser Valley. She is a sheep who has wandered off a little too far. One day she looked around and the rest of the flock was gone! There were no familiar landmarks. She cannot find anyone to help her find her way home. What all the Helens and Bobs and Alices and Marys need are shepherds who will come looking for them. Do not take this message as just another guilt trip, but rather as a gentle encouragement to remember how joyful it is when Jesus finds any one of us. Remember that the business of finding lost sheep is a great joy for both the shepherd and the sheep!