"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Monday, March 30, 2020

“Heart and Soul”

“Living is to love him, serving him to know his freedom. Come along with us to join the praise of Jesus…” Glorious in Majesty by Jeff Cothran

A come-a-long is a hand-operated winch with a ratchet used to pull objects. The drum is wrapped with wire rope.  Apparently Archimedes had something to do with the prototype. It is an invaluable tool, when you can’t do it alone, especially if you are situated in a place that boasts no electricity and not enough ‘people power’ to get a job done.  When the job involves getting a 16ft Lund out of the water and up onto dry land in mid-October, it truly is a back-saver. 

We can certainly be a come-along for others although, in these days, clearly at a distance.  How can we support friends and family as they cope with their heavy loads, their fears, isolation and worries about the future? 

Many of St. Paul’s letters include ‘words pf encouragement’.  One oft quoted verse is from the first letter to the Thessalonians 4:11 “Encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.”  The sentiment is perfect but the context is about ‘end times’ so, in this instance, let’s just proof-text!

Encouragement takes many forms.  Listening is at the crux of it.  Listen to what is said, without offering immediate solutions or glib comments about ‘bucking up’.  If there is a specific need, and you have the correct information, refer them to help. On-line there is both correct and false information, true news stories and ‘alternative facts’ or downright lies.  Listen to what reports they have taken to heart and offer gentle observations if they are feeding their fear in some way. When appropriate, share about something that is not about COVID 19; the cardinal on the bird feeder or the funny meme on Facebook, for example.  And don’t be afraid to give spiritual comfort, affirming that our God is present with us even in these times.  Pray for them and yes, even with them on the telephone, for their own needs and those of the world or perhaps sharing this prayer, out of the Celtic oral tradition: 

Eternal God, You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm; You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart’s eternal spark; You are the door that’s open wide
You are the guest who waits inside; You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor; You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill; You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Saviour this very day. Amen.