A Reminder, Perhaps?

. Posted in DCE's Blog

Just before Bill was taken in for his recent surgery, a nurse came into the room and took a quick look around. There were 4 of us in the room: William, two friends, and me. Hurriedly she said, "He's getting ready to go to surgery. You can have a short prayer and say a quick good-bye."

Of course, I don't know why the nurse did that. Maybe in the past some patient had a minister who prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Maybe in the past family members had prolonged their good-byes. Or, did the nurse see prayer and a good-bye as perfunctory? Or, was her agenda (getting a patient to surgery) the most important thing happening?

The five of us laughed when she exited. As it turned out, the hospital/surgery schedule was not of such urgency that a short prayer and a quick good-bye were necessary. Thankfully, William had a meaningful prayer as he would have done without her instruction; we said our good-byes as we would have without her direction.

Sometime later, I reflected on that with regard to what happens in the church or at least, whether I have been the "church nurse" at times.

  • When I've taught, have I hurried the activities or allowed time for significant sharing by the students?
  • In ministry team meetings, has completing the agenda been the most important task to me?
  • In fellowship time on Sundays, have I been "present" to someone who needed to talk or am I off to do the next thing?
  • Am I attuned in small group to a struggle a member needs to share?

Maybe that nurse isn't the only one pushing for a "short prayer" and a "quick good-bye." Thanks for the reminder, hospital nurse!

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