…and you visited me.
There are some intriguing mysteries in the Bible, aren’t there? Most of us would probably name the mystery of the Trinity as the greatest. How can God be both 3 and 1? We can understand this with respect to our salvation – the Father sends, the Son takes our place, the Holy Spirit gives and sustains new life in us – but there is still so much more we don’t know.
When I think of mysteries, one that stands out to me is Jesus’ statement in Matthew 25:35ff when he said, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Somehow, one believer serving the needs of another, especially the needs of those who are in disadvantaged or particularly difficult situations, is an act of service to King Jesus.
Visitation and care has always been a central component of ministry at Christ Baptist. We have members who volunteer at soup kitchens in the city; we have members who recognize that, to use the title of a book, hospitality comes with a house key; we have members who provide hats for people in hospitals; we have members who visit their brothers and sisters in Christ in hospitals, rehab centers and homes; we have members who remain faithful to work in the prison system, and, of course, there are the members of our deacon mercy team visiting and calling people every week. For all of this and more, I am very grateful. I am grateful because this is how the body of Christ should work. All of us serving our Lord by serving one another.
As I think about all of this, it seems to me that everyone should know how the “official” side of visitation works at Christ Baptist. Jane, our church secretary, is the one who receives information about people needing a visit. When she receives the information, she identifies which staff member will make the first visit based on age (eg. a youth or family member would be visited by Jeff), ministry connections (eg. choir) and other factors. Then, if follow up visits are needed, that is communicated to Jane who continues to oversee the whole process as other staff members are included. The hope is that visits will be a part of every staff member’s ministry to the congregation and an opportunity for them both to show the love of Christ and express their love for Christ as they serve Him.
I anticipate that visiting with people will continue to be a prominent part of my pastoral work at Christ Baptist, but God has blessed me with an able staff on whom I can rely when it comes to loving the people entrusted to our care. May we all one day hear, “…and you visited me.”