If you haven’t seen me the last few Sundays, I have been at home trying to get over the most recent surgery on my back. I am deeply appreciative of the cards, emails, and phone calls that have come from many of you. I always seem to believe that I can get over surgery faster than I really can. I’m sorry that I missed the reception for Sara that was held last weekend.
But I am slowly getting my strength back and plan to be in church this next Sunday. Betsy has proven once again that she is better at taking care of me than I am at allowing myself to be taken care of. I wonder who started the linguistic tradition of referring to people receiving medical treatment as “patients”? I’m not sure if that person should be characterized as optimistic, hopeful, or what. Perhaps a more descriptive term would be “grumpy.” In my own case, I think the thing I wish I had more of is patience.
The congregations in smaller membership churches often do an outstanding job of taking care of each other. But it seems that as churches grow in membership, and especially when they move to more than one worship service, they lose some of that personal connection. But Plymouth Park seems to be an exception to that rule. For the size of our church, we do a remarkable job of caring for each other.
I think my favorite hymn from The Faith We Sing supplement to the hymnal is “The Servant Song.” The first verse, which repeats as the last verse, always seems to speak to me:
Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
I think I’m actually pretty good as being a servant to others. I’ve had a lot of practice. It’s the second part that I find challenging. It is very difficult for many of us, myself included, to allow other people to care for us. On the one hand we live in a culture that extols the virtues of self-reliance and independence. But the reality is that we live in an intricately connected world where we depend on other people for just about everything we need or use.
That is especially true when it comes to our spiritual and emotional needs. The season of Lent is a time to reflect upon the gifts that God has given and will continue to give to each and every one of us. A great many of those gifts come in the form of people who care for us, provide for us, heal us, and restore our faith and hope.
Grace and peace to you as we make our annual Lenten journey toward Jerusalem, the cross, and the empty tomb.