Sunday, September 30, 2007

Six

I used to not get what was the big deal about shut-ins. They were always on the prayer list at church and many of them had been there for longer than I could remember. But since they weren't in the hospital, in some seriously ill state, I didn't understand why we needed to keep them in our prayers, at least not week after week. I mean, their condition hadn't changed recently and probably wasn't going to any time soon.

Then I became a temporary shut-in. Today I'm missing my sixth worship service. It gets progressively harder to be away from my church family. I feel more and more removed from regular church life and the lives of our members. And, though I have no evidence to back it up, I feel more and more forgotten. Oh, Russ comes in every week and tells me that they prayed for me and that everyone sends their best but with every day that passes that I don't actually get to be plugged into the people sending these messages, their warm thoughts have less and less meaning.

I try to come up with ways to make my Sunday morning special. I have praise music to listen to and endless podcasts of sermons. But they don't take the place of actual fellowship. The best Sunday I have had so far was when a dear teammate came and sat with me all morning instead of going to church. It was one of the most meaningful gestures I have experienced recently. We didn't do anything special that morning, but it was so nice to have someone with me at a time that I knew everyone else was together.

I think of how much that meant to me and I remember that I have only missed six weeks of church. Six weeks isn't all that much. There are many people on most shut-in lists that have been there for six years! It leaves me wondering what we can do to help our brothers and sisters who can't be with the rest of the body. These days, it's very easy for a shut-in to be able to listen to the worship service from their home. While it is certainly a blessing to have your soul fed in that way, it doesn't take the place of community. Gathering together is what church is supposed to be about, not just transmission of information.

I wish I had answers for how to help shut-ins. My experiences to date have been limited and I have the added blessing of knowing that my situation is only temporary. And in a fledgling church like ours, we don't even have any shut-ins yet (except for me!) But most churches do and my heart goes out to them today whether they are missing their sixth, sixteenth or sixtieth Sunday.

3 comments:

Sascha said...

Hang in there, sis. I know it is tough. It isn't the same, but when I was ten yrs old I broke my leg and wound up in a body cast for 2 months. I didn't leave the bed for that whole time. I had to have sponge baths in the bed (not fun for a 10 yr old when your mom is the helper!), use the facilities in the bed, and I even had a teacher come to my house to teach me lessons. It was a hard time for me - I missed a lot (of the 5th grade and a lot of other things too).

However, that was a time that really helped make me a lot more sensitive to other people's needs. I can see that the Lord is using this time while you are the "shut-in" to mold you and humble you so that you will be able to bless others in a new way.

We are praying for you and your baby. Take care.

Heather A said...

My heart goes out to you! I love that sweet story about your teammate sitting with you during church. How precious! It's things like that that make me so excited about coming to work with you! I miss you guys so much and can't wait to be with you again! Love you lots! You're in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

I love you too. I know Sunday mornings were always the hardest for me. On you're 7th you'll be beating me again! He'll be here before you know it though. I'll miss you and pray for you while we're gone. I'm not sure we'll get to see you before we leave - Tati will just have to do in my place - she's much better anyway at the cleaning and cooking - just don't leave anything important lying around though or you may not find it again. Do leave some tooth picks and q-tips lying out...
Yo Yo