Let me tell you a secret about David and me. Except for a few days out of each year, through 52 years of living together, we have made our bed each morning. (Those few exceptions are what I usually refer to as my “bed-making vacation days.”) When we were both working I sometimes wondered why we did this. We would leave the house in the morning, be gone all day, and come home in the evening, all the while not see the made bed until we unmade and climbed into it again. One morning I suggested to David that we not make our bed, and he replied, “I want to keep making it because I like that it looks good even though I am not looking at it.”
By now I’m sure you wonder what on earth this has to do with ministry. I’ll also bet you would be puzzled to know that Sherry asked me to write about the Parish Nursing ministry at NFC. Let me see if I can tie it all together.
When we lived in Massachusetts, I served on a pastoral search committee. The person to whom we were offering the position came to visit our church and expressed some strong concern that several areas of the church building were in need of repair. He felt it reflected on our investment in the life of the church that we didn’t care well for our property.
This past spring Elizabeth Sherwood (my daughter-in-law and NFC’s administrative pastor) asked if I would take over getting the church flowerbeds in better shape, which resulted in several of you participating all summer to help make that happen. As I worked in the dirt and planted the flowers from your gardens into the church flower beds, I found my heart enlarging toward each of you and also toward the community in which our church building is placed. I found myself praying that you would receive pleasure from the flowers and that those who walked by them daily would also.
Recently, as I cleaned up some weeded areas around the church, a woman responsible for one of the flowerbeds commented, “Since I have been responsible for that one bed I have seen so many more things around the church I want to do.” That did my heart good and made me realize how true that is. When you invest in something, you want to care for it. You want it to look nice and you want it to bring pleasure to those with whom you share it. Once you are invested, giving more of yourself becomes easier.
On Saturday, October 25, from 9 a.m. to noon, the church will host an NFC All-Church Serve Day, offering everyone an opportunity to assist in helping our property look even better. It will be a come-one, come-all event! There will be plenty for everyone to do. I pray it can be a time of fellowship, work, and ministry together as we beautify and maintain our church property.
Parish Nursing involves using my nursing skills to help each of you, in whatever way I can, become healthier people—body, mind, and spirit. Since April, a big part of this has been through helping to make our mutual environment prettier to look at. Just like our bed at home, I don’t look at those flowers all the time, maybe just three or four times a week, but when I think about them being there I am glad they look the way they do.
I hope you will join us on October 25. I think all who come will be blessed by the experience—and what could be more fun than getting sweaty and dirty together and then sharing lunch?