I always find the words of the following hymn moving and at the same time challenging.
Brother, sister let me serve you.
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh I'll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we've seen this journey through.
We are all aware that within the church family and the community around us people have to cope with all sorts of difficulties and disappointments, heartache and pain.
Countless times people going through these difficult seasons of life have expressed appreciation of those who have journeyed with them.
Such care is shown through genuine empathy — entering into a person's pain, taking their hand so to speak and being there with them.
It is shown through listening, really listening both to what is said and what is unsaid. To feel that someone has listened to you is a gift.
The road through sadness and suffering can be long, so how blessed is the person who has a faithful companion who doesn't give up on them or grow weary of caring.
Everyone needs to feel that they are accepted unconditionally. How valuable is the person who is not phased by the one who expresses their pain, their anger, their doubts, their frustration and their tears without judging them.
I was struck by the following quote:
'So, the spirituality of those who care ... must be the spirituality of the companion, of the friend who walks alongside, helping, sharing and just sometimes sitting, empty-handed, when he would rather run away.
It is the spirituality of presence, of being alongside, watchful, available... of being there. Sheila Cassidy 'Sharing the Darkness'
As Christians we also have the gift of prayer, which when offered sensitively is often accepted and appreciated. A reminder that we have a God who cares deeply for us whatever our circumstance and in whom we find help and strength.
Thank you for all the care you are able to show and through good times and bad, may we continue to be there for each other.
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