Right place at the right time
by Chris Herman
Sometimes God lets us see what He is doing in special ways. Here’s a little glimpse of fruit springing forth from a new non-traditional parish beginning to form in a nursing home. I hope it encourages you as much as it encourages us at St. Lazarus Mission.
For almost three months our mission team has been working in Southbrook Care Center. We are experiencing many things together for the first time there. This past Sunday we experienced, together, for the first time, the death of a beloved parishioner. At the beginning of our afternoon Communion Service, a man came in and announced that his mother had just passed away. This resident, Beatrice, regularly attended, received Communion, and was a friend to many residents at the service. Tears began to flow, Fr. Chris went with the grieving son to comfort him, and the service resumed. At the conclusion of the service, we sang “Amazing Grace.” And it was then that we got a peek through the window of heaven.
While the congregation was singing, some of Beatrice’s family members came into the room and stood as though in awe in the back of the room. The anthem was beautiful, and in a sense, one could say it was angelic — it was sung with such humility, purpose, and strength. Many of us were deeply touched. I cannot speak for everyone, but I myself was keenly aware of the presence of the Lord and was greatly comforted.
Here’s what we saw through that window: The church is alive in Southbrook Care Center! In their functioning as a church, the residents, the least of the least, were able to minister to those around them with the healing comfort of Jesus Christ. This was not a case of “outsiders” bringing in comfort…this was the residents, those from within, the weak and sick, making manifest the love of Jesus Christ to the world around them. This is why, I think, God sent St. Lazarus Mission into the facility. We gather the scattered sheep of Christ, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, enable them to function as the church.
Psalm 145 : 10-14
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
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