Feb 25, 2011
Listen, pray, share hope.
Last week I spoke about how the hope of the resurrection is that the chaos of the waters does not have the final say. This week I will speak about two gifts we Christians can offer to people facing grief or disaster. First because our hope gives us confidence, we can offer them a listening ear. Often what people most need is for someone to hear what they are going through. The Lifeline Community Care website suggests people need to do these things:
•Share your feelings when you are ready •Try to keep the rest of your life as normal as possible •Accept support of people who care •Take the time to be with your family and friends •Express your needs clearly and honestly •Look after yourself – eat well, sleep and take time out •Let your children talk to you and others about their emotions •Call Lifeline if necessary – a Lifeline Telephone Volunteer is available 24 hours a day on 13 11 14
You can be the friend, family member, colleague, neighbour, or fellow Christian who listens, and gives support. If every Christian, even if every member of St Stephen’s did this, it would have a significant healing effect on our city and region.
Perhaps more significantly we can offer something else. We can offer them the hope of the Gospel. I’m not talking here about “Bible bashing” but about doing simple things alongside the listening and support. These might include offering to pray with and for those people you take time to listen to. You may want to finish your conversation with them with, “Would you like me to pray with you?” or if that’s too much “Would you like me to pray for you?” or if that’s too much “I’ll keep you in my prayers.” As Christians this is part of what we are called to do. With Jesus we are to let people know that “The Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near.” (Matt 4:17) With Paul part of our task is to proclaim the Gospel. (1 Cor 1:17)