By: Pedro S. Silva II
Ephesians 3 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16 I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18 I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
On the last Tuesday of every month at 3:00 p.m., a group of us in the community get together in fellowship and encourage one another in practicing the Art of being a Healing Presence. The outpouring of that fellowship is what we are calling the Visitation Ministry. We start our time together by reminding ourselves why we gather. We do this by opening with singing the song, Won’t You Let Me Be Your Servant which reminds us that serving one another is love’s call. Every time we see this song, I can feel the spaciousness of this invitation grounding each of us into that place together. After singing, we pray. The prayer reminds us that not only are we in this place, but God is wholly present as well. Our collective “Amen” then extends into one of us reading our purpose for communing like this which is:
Purpose: To be the hands and feet of Christ to one another. Offering the ministry of Presence for those who are sick, shut in, or otherwise unable to come to weekly worship services or participate in church activities. To be the Church in the World.
With our hearts, minds, and bodies rooted in our purpose, we check in with one another about our experiences in practicing the Art of Being a Healing Presence since we last were together. Because our intent is to realize this art as a way of life, we do not limit this check in to only the times that we may have been able to visit with people from the community who might be open to visits, we include how we experience this practice in life in general to include when we are able to visit with both First Congregational members as well as how this practice extends into the other areas that we are called into in our lives. Additionally, we consider this idea of Presence to be larger than only physical presence. Spiritual Presence out of which physical presence emerges, includes us praying for those in our community who have expressed an openness to receiving prayer as well as those for whom we pray not knowing their specific needs.
Our greatest ideal for this ministry is that it will not be seen as simply a group of people who have taken on the task of visiting people, but rather, as a reminder that this entire community is founded on the gift of Visitation and Presence. The full Presence of the Creator has visited humanity through the Christedness Jesus embodied and continues to do so through those of us who are learning to walk alongside Christ in our lives. Out of the love that fills Jesus’ being, he blesses, heals, forgives, serves, and loves never losing anything in this process. The Visitation Ministry hopes to be a reminder that as the hands and feet of Christ, the Church as Christ’s Body has the same potential.
If you would like to visit with us, please reach out to me and you will be added to our email list.
Ever Present God, May we be ever diligent in allowing your Spirit to take permanent residence in our lives. As we are called out into the world, may we remember that you are never far from us so that we might draw near to others. In the manner of Christ, we pray. Amen.