Happy New Year! I hope and pray that you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas celebration with friends and family, and that your year gets off to a wonderfully blessed start. As we hang up our new calendars, we come face to face with the fact that 2020 is upon us, so ready or not, here we go!
Every new year is another opportunity to reflect on the year just past and to consider thoughtfully any changes we’d like to put into place for the next 12 months. For this new year of 2020, I’d like to invite you to join me in making this a year of renewed and deepened emphasis on care for one another. The Christian journey is not meant to be a solitary one. Certainly, there are times when it comes down to “just us and Jesus,” but in general we live out our faith in community, which is why the Apostle Paul writes so many instructions to the Church that contain the phrase “one another.”
Care for others and for one another is something I would highlight as part of Redeemer’s DNA. When I think about what sets Redeemer apart from some other congregations, and when I talk to colleagues about what makes Redeemer tick, I often mention how deeply so many people care for others. We have a dedicated care team whose members not only visit folks who can’t attend church services, but who genuinely “bring the Church” to these dear friends and members we want to make sure are not forgotten. Our Elders also dedicate considerable time to these kinds of visits and make sure that Communion is offered to those who don’t otherwise have access to the Lord’s Table.
I know that many others offer visits and other forms of important care to those needing encouragement, support or a friend. Our Stephen Ministry Team walks closely for a season with those experiencing particularly challenging times. Our congregation generously gives to our benevolence fund that is faithfully overseen by the Elders.
There is, of course, a lot of care that is offered within Redeemer, and from Redeemer people to those outside our congregation, that I know nothing about. It always brings a smile to my face to get wind of some loving gesture that’s been offered in the name of Jesus. It always strikes me as part of what we’re meant to be about.
As with any area of ministry, we have room to grow in care. We are looking for someone who is willing to coordinate meal delivery to parents of newborns, people coming home from hospitalization, and others facing times of particular need. We are always on the lookout for people open to making hospital visits, and the Stephen Ministry Team is seeking additional members. I’m sometimes asked, “Who is caring for so and so?” The answer, of course, is “the Church!” By God’s grace, may our congregation get even better at sharing the love of Jesus through care.
Hear the words of the Apostle Paul:
- “God has put the body together … so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:24-25)
- “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Thank you for offering care and for being open to receive it. May God guide us all into deeper rhythms and practices of care in this new year.