Yes, this is part 2. Part 1 posted several months ago. Other, perhaps more pressing topics have interrupted my plan. That’s okay. It may be a returning theme every so often.
Part one was on making time for pastoral care even if you are dual employed or pastoral care is not your strongest gift because our care for the flock embodies Christ’s care for them. Here’s the other part of that idea: Christ may sometimes show up in physical care forms, but Christ ALWAYS shows up for the soul.
There is a distinct difference in showing up physically and showing up spiritually for someone. As we build relationships with new generations in our congregations and in our communities it is vitally important that we succeed in both.
Showing up physically is easy and most often ingrained in our habits of community participation. We attend ball games, concerts, plays, and other events in support of our schools, but do our students and their families recognize our support specifically for them? In our showing up, do they experience Christ’s joy in the celebration of their gifts?
We visit when someone has had surgery, tests, or is struggling in someway, but in our visiting does Christ’s love reach into the soul of our friend? Do we connect with their deep hurt or longing inside?
John Wesley teaches us how to make this connection in our showing up: let us remember to ask “how is it with your soul?” In our preaching and conversations we must be willing to bare our own souls so that others will feel free to bare their souls to us, and ultimately to Christ.
So, how is it with your soul, and how comfortable are you with sharing that? How willing are you to ask that question and listen in love to the answer without judgement or condemnation? Remember, apart from Christ all are already condemned because of sin. Are you taking the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ to the hurting and lost souls around you? Don’t assume they know that’s why you’ve showed up. Boldly proclaim!