Thursday, 21 January 2010

Visiting - what is it all about?

People expect the Vicar to do visiting - but why? Some say that people don't think that the 'church' cares unless the Vicar has stopped by. I heard of a story where a priest came to an older lady's house and was let in by one of his congregation who had been visiting and was just leaving. The first thing the older lady said on seeing the priest was 'Oh, it's about time you came, I've been ill and no one from the church has come'.

Today, we have a lunch for the Pastoral Team - those lay people who visit the sick and put on coffee mornings for the community. We will be discussing the purpose of visiting. I think for me it is threefold:

1. Friendship. Or should I call this discipleship? When I visit someone I hope that we will encourage each other to follow Christ in ever deeper ways. That the visit will change both of us. I actually think this can be true whether or not the person I visit is a Christian, we can grow in love, truth, hope and joy.

2. Encouragement. If someone is sick or housebound then perhaps they need a little encouragement to go on, to keep praying and to not sink into despondency. It is amazing the power of affirmation, as I wrote in my post here.

3. An excuse to show love. I think it is quite hard to find an excuse to show you care. When someone is sick it is great to visit, exchange hospitality, have a chat and spread a little happiness.

I don't think it it matters at all whether one is wearing a dog collar or not, and I don't think we should give in to other people's expectations about that, we should be ourselves and be true to what we feel we are called to do, see my post here.

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