The Gift of Presence

A person posing for the cameraPeople of Hope:

Did you know we installed Lay Communion Ministers about three months ago? Four people stepped up to serve. They went through a simple training, received Holy Communion kits, and are now visiting members of the congregation in their homes. Just last week, we met to check in about the visits, to adjust schedules, to discuss edits to the service of Holy Communion itself.

As I imagine we are all aware, there are people who are part of the Esperanza community who are unable, or find it difficult, to attend worship on Sunday mornings for a variety of reasons. They are still a part of us, and so we go to them — to extend the presence of the church beyond these walls. Of course, we extend the presence of the church beyond these walls in many of our activities, both our church activities as well as our daily ministries in our jobs, with our neighbors, and in the community at large.

While we of course make a positive impact through our technical skills and our diligence in various aspects of our work and community service, our presence is perhaps the most important and meaningful gift we can share. Just our presence in the lives of others. This is something I learned as a young pastor and something I learn over and over again. Mostly, we humans just don’t want to be alone. Us showing up — even without wise words or a solution to others’ problems — is mostly what makes a difference in the lives of others. Our presence is it.

If we’re parents, we know this. Our kids remember if we showed up to their baseball games and their choir concerts. But it’s true for adults, too; we remember when our friends and church family show up when we’re in the hospital, at the funeral of a loved one, to help celebrate the milestones of our and our family’s lives. Our presence is mostly what we and others want and need.

This summer, as we slow down, I invite you to show up for someone perhaps in a way you’ve never shown up before. Maybe God is calling you to be a lay communion minister. Maybe you will have the opportunity to support a friend who needs your presence. Maybe you can knock on your neighbor’s door just to ask how they’re doing — and bring some cookies.

This week, we are in the midst of Vacation Bible School, and I can tell you: that the kids showed up is what lifts up my heart!

With joy,

Pastor Sarah