Little Bee is a novel written by Chris Cleve. The title character is a young Nigerian woman who encounters murderous oppression in her native land and steals away to England, seeking refugee status. The missionaries who had established the church in her small Nigerian village had left. Little Bee describes it this way: “In our village our only Bible had all its pages missing after the forty-sixth verse of the twenty-seventh chapter of Matthew, so that the end of our religion, as far as any of us knew, was My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? We understood that this was the end of the story.” Imagine having a Bible that ends that way, without resurrection hope and other assurances of God’s ongoing presence with us!
Part of the ministry of the church is to be an expression of God’s deep care, particularly when people are going through challenging times – to show that God does not forsake us, even when folks feel like that may be the case. I am blessed to be a new part of BMPC’s Caring Ministries team. All the pastors offer pastoral care in various settings, but pastoral care is a focus for my position. When it comes to hospital visits, we frequently will not know that you are going into the hospital unless you tell us, so please do so.
I look forward to connecting with those who have a difficult time getting to 625 Montgomery Avenue or those who are grieving a loss. I get to work with the Deacons as they seek to help make BMPC a place that reflects God’s deep care. I also get to work with the Senior Adult Council which pays particular attention to the wisdom, talents, and needs of older adults in our congregation. Carol Cherry, our parish nurse, and Kiki McKendrick, director of the Middleton Counseling Center, are part of the Caring Ministries team. To see a glimpse of their programing, check out these links: Parish Nurse The Middleton Center We hope to make an announcement soon about our next congregational social worker who will be joining our Caring Ministries team.
We see God’s deep care expressed throughout the whole Bible (thank God we have all of the book of Matthew and the other 65 books of it), where we see divine care most clearly expressed in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was the incarnation of God’s loving, transformative care. All of us who seek to follow Jesus also have opportunities to be incarnations – not of God, but of God’s care.
BMPC’s ministry increases exponentially when caring expressions are not limited to just staff and officers but when they are carried out by all of us. I encourage you to reflect on how you can be an expression of God’s care for those within and beyond our congregation – the staff can help you find ways to do that. We can be physical reminders to others that God not only does not forsake them but is present in the expressions of love and care we offer in Christ’s name. We can help change how hurting folks understand the end of the story.