An Invitation to Visitation
One of the most important, but often underserved, responsibilities of those in ministry is visitation, particularly to people who are hospitalized, housebound, or in long-term care facilities.
Even though I sometimes put visitation off and fill the time with some other activity or obligation, when I finally get around to visiting, I find the experience to be energizing and exhilarating.
Jesus famously said to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew (26:31-40): “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people, one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
This passage is clearly about much more than visitation; it is about reaching out and caring for those in need, particularly those who live on the margins.
The people of Oak Chapel have a longstanding tradition of love and compassion, as well as a call to action for those in need. Perhaps this fall, we can make a special effort to focus on visitation to brighten the spirits of another. You will bring joy and encouragement to those you visit, and you will be blessed as well with a special feeling of fulfillment in the knowledge that you have heard God’s invitation and answered his call.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John