What kind of pastoral care did Jesus provide?
I was challenged to consider this question by a co-worker last week who used the story of Lazarus as an example. Here are the opening lines of this narrative from John 11, TNIV:
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.)
3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
Mary, Martha and Lazarus may have been some of Jesus’ closest friends outside of the twelve men who traveled with him. Jesus receives word that Lazarus is sick (in the hospital or hospice, if it were today, as we know from the story that he is near death) and Jesus proceeds to respond by staying where is for two days.
Two days is a long time when your best friend is near death.
There is little that is truly urgent in pastoral care.
What do you learn about Jesus’ pastoral care from this story?
This week I moved over the half way point in my unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. It has been an excellent learning opportunity throughout and I am looking forward to the ways that I will continue to learn about myself, others and interpersonal interactions.
Graduation is April 27.
95 days to go.
I normally do not post on Sunday, but I am excited to share the launch of a live webstream of worship at Resurrection. Check out this excerpt from Adam’s e-note this week and join us at http://live.cor.org today
4. Sick or Traveling? Join us for Worship LIVE on the Web Sundays at 10:45 and 5:00
This Sunday we officially launch a live webcast of our entire worship service on the Internet at 10:45 am and 5:00 pm. If you are sick at home or in the hospital, or if you are travelling you can now join us for worship from your computer (you’ll need a high speed internet connection). The service will be broadcast live. Our license allows us to broadcast the service live, but we are unable to continue to replay the service on the Net due to music copyright restrictions. The sermons will continue to be available for viewing at any time. Check out the service and let us know how we can improve the experience. Here’s the link. To offer suggestions for improvement email Andrew Conard.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” –Psalm 23:5, TNIV
Before I was appointed at Resurrection, I was not very familiar with the practice of anointing someone with oil. However, here I have found that it is a common practice and I have made it a part of my common practice.
When I am visiting someone before surgery, I will anoint their head with oil in the sign of the cross. After conversation with the individual and others in the room, I will read scripture – usually from Psalm 23 – anoint the person having surgery on her or his forehead in the sign of the cross and pray for healing. After I finish reading the scripture passage I say, “Oil has been used in the Old and New Testaments as a sign of God’s presence and for healing.” It also helpful that Psalm 23 mentions one’s head being anointed with oil.
Another occasion in which oil is used at Resurrection is at baptism. After the water has been used, the pastor will anoint the head of the person who has been baptized as another sign of God’s seal on the person.
Oil will also be used at occasions of prayer – for a particular need or for someone seeking guidance. Again placing oil on the thumb or finger and making the sign of the cross while saying the words “(name), I anoint you in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Then entering into prayer with the individual.
I have found that this practice has been one that has added meaning and significance to a time of prayer.