Pastoral care is a funny old beast and, because it sometimes looks a bit like other things, it is often confused with them. But it’s not therapy, or life coaching, or social work, or conflict management, or even spiritual healing. Instead, pastoral care is about loving you and pointing you towards the Great Physician himself: Jesus Christ.
Every week in our liturgy we pray, ‘We choose to be made whole.’ The words are simple; but the reality is complex. Here, Lucy wrestles with this reality.
I’m finding it difficult to climb out of bed in the morning. A global pandemic, the monotony of shutdown, the changes to family, work and congregational life, climate catastrophe: unsurprisingly, I find the state of the world overwhelming. I just want to lie in bed and do nothing; to ignore kids, work, climate and let the world hurtle its way to destruction. There are days when I feel nearly paralyzed by grief and fear. Continue reading “Slow reading: Paralysis”
Our four-week-series of reflecting on church together has been postponed while we give ourselves time to adapt to the next phase of COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, here’s an opportunity for slow reading.
Some days are better than others: but this was not one of them. I woke up with my heart pounding, intensely aware of my anxiety. I felt it, named it, and prayed about it, then swung my legs out of bed and began my morning routine. Anxiously, I drank some water; anxiously, I did a workout; anxiously, I had a long hot shower … and still my heart pounded with fear. Muttering to myself that it would be a stupid waste of time while I was in this state, nevertheless I sat down to my daily practice: slow reading Scripture then sitting in silence, imagining myself in the Scripture and looking always towards God. Continue reading “Slow reading: Out of my mind with fear.”
The gospel begins with the call to change our hearts. Here, a member of our congregation writes powerfully on the changes happening in her own heart, as her ideas about God are turned upside down and she discovers that there is good news for her, after all.
Up until a year ago I had gone to church almost every Sunday since I was 11 years old. In that time, I had grown to love God and I had also grown to really doubt Him and in being honest there have been many times where I have been really angry at Him too. In the 21 years I had been going to church I was constantly at war within myself. I loved God, I loved the church I attended, and I loved the family created within that church. Continue reading “A gay person cannot possibly share their story in church … can they?”
A testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit in my own life, and a promise to all who have been judged and found wanting. (Listen.)
I grew up in a hypercritical atmosphere. I know my mother loved me deeply; nevertheless, I was told every day that nothing I did was good enough. I’d wipe the kitchen bench, and be screamed at for holding the sponge carelessly or for knocking a few crumbs on the floor. I’d sweep, and she’d shout that I was doing it all wrong; when I changed how I held the broom, things only got worse. Once, I dropped a drinking glass; amid sobs and shrieks I was accused of destroying something precious and irreplaceable. Of course, I became a timid, anxious, furtive kind of child; and a cripplingly self-conscious adolescent who was so defensive and so filled with rage that there were times when I could barely breathe. Continue reading “Holy Spirit: Defence lawyer, healer, friend”
Imagine being a hospital chaplain who cannot enter the room of a dying patient. This is the reality of coronavirus. Public health demands that patients die alone, yet patients still need people to journey with them, and to offer words of hope and comfort both to themselves and to their loved ones. Continue reading “Drawing close … from a distance”
The children of the COVID-19 lockdown will bear scars of this time for the rest of their lives; yet even scars become gift in God’s hands. (Listen.)
This week I read an article which said that the children of the COVID-19 lockdown will bear scars of this time for the rest of their lives. I watch my own children’s social lives shrinking or moving entirely online; I watch them trying to study without the support of being in a classroom with teacher and peers; I watch my youngest dash off her learning tasks, then fall down the rabbit hole of the internet while her older sisters and parents all work. Continue reading “Even scars become gift in God’s hands”
When the disciples had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:9-14) Continue reading “Resurrection morn: Fire on the beach”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world. (John 11:17-27) Continue reading “#40: Resurrection life”