Monday, June 25, 2007

teary-eyed prayers

With Matt (my supervisor/pastor) out of town, I'm having to go it alone this week with some of the home and hospital visits. It is by no means my favorite part working in the church, but it's the part that I most need to remind me that I am in fact working for the church, and not some sort of well-meaning self-improvement intellectual-aesthetic commune.

Today, though, a parishioner volunteered to go with me up to Forsyth Medical Center, where a member had recently been hospitalized. He heard about the situation when I did, he knew that I had never met the man in question, and he had planned on taking me to lunch anyway. Good divine timing, if you ask me.

It turned out that L.V. was in for what he thought was a second stroke--but turned out not to be (they're not really sure what it was). He was sitting up and reading the paper, so we were able to have a good conversation. At the end I offered to pray with him, and so I took his hand and prayed this terrible prayer--honestly, I thought, as I said amen, "Now that was a lame prayer! This guy's going to wonder what kind of idiots they're sending to the ministry these days." But then when I looked up L.V.'s eyes were wet.

I don't know if I'd say making an old man cry is always the mark of the Holy Spirit, but it certainly wasn't anything genius on my part. I was humbled. And so I have to say with John the Baptist, in today's (transferred) reading, "He must increase, and I must decrease."

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