“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
- Matthew 18:20
We used to have a yellow Labrador named Charlie. Charlie was a loyal and wonderful pet. He has been gone for over 10 years, but I still miss him.
When we were new to San Antonio, I suffered a miscarriage. The loss was devastating. I have this vivid memory of sitting on the edge of my bed and quietly crying. Charlie meandered over and softly laid his head in my lap. He did not come over with the perfect word of encouragement or a beautiful prayer. He did not share any well-meaning statements that started with “at least…” or seek out the silver linings. Right about now you may be thinking “of course, he didn’t; he is a dog.” But my point is that he did not do any of the things we think we should do. He saw me hurting and he brought comfort with his gentle presence. His companionship was such a gift to me in that moment of grief and heartache.
We see people going through a difficult time and can believe the lie that we are helpless to do anything. We will not know what to say or how to act. The truth is, just like Charlie, you can provide love and comfort by just showing up. I recently listened to a podcast where Bryan Stevenson explained this beautifully when he said:
I really have come to believe that sometimes the two most important words we can articulate when we’re trying to minister, when we’re trying to help, when we’re trying to serve, when we’re trying to be a friend, when we’re trying to do something hard and difficult. The two most challenging, but sometimes the most important words are I’m here. And it is that expression of presence in places that are difficult and challenging that represents something so much more powerful than a lot of the other words that we can say. You don’t always have the answers. You don’t always have the skills. You don’t always have the knowledge that you’d like to have. But if you have the willingness to be present, it’s amazing what you can do.
Following the 11am service on February 5, we have a luncheon in the Loft (C311) to share the vision and the details of our new visitation ministry called “Ministry of Presence.” This is an invitation to learn about the expectations of serving, have questions answered, and hear that we aren’t asking anything more of you than to the willingness to say, “I’m here.”
I look forward to you joining,