In the Right Place at the….
Working as a Chaplain in an elderly persons community I find myself asking the question, ‘Is this really where God wants me?’
Then I reason, ‘this is my selfish thinking getting in the way of serving God and my pride is trying to make my ministry expectations more significant than is appropriate.’
OK, so in that case, I am exactly where I should be, and God has not deserted me, but I still wish I could serve Him more.
A little voice says, ‘What does that have to do with you? It is really up to God how he wants to use you.’
I am serving as Chaplain in an old people’s community. I question it because my ‘Vespers’ services appear so boring that everyone goes to sleep.
Actually, it is just what they need, a chance to sleep, in the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the service this last Sunday, I had to shake awake my violinist, the only source of music we have, for him to play.
But when you are approaching 80, 90 or your into your 100 years, it is an achievement to make it to the Sunday service in the auditorium. That is a big deal for each of them and if you catch a nap so much the better.
I often ask myself, well what can I really give or teach people who have gone to church for thirty five years before I ever read through the bible.
But there goes my thinking again, placing the burden on myself to be ‘doing the work’, when in fact only God can do it.
Most of my flock can not see to read, they cannot hear even with hearing aids, they do not move without a walker or an electric cart. They have continued as well as they could through the pandemic, trying to keep their thoughts positive, but it has hurt everyone. You can see the sadness in their eyes, as they pull down their masks and ask, ‘How long is this going on for?’
I have the luxury of movement, hearing, seeing and asking myself, ‘am I in the right place?’
My flock does not; they are staying where they are. Thankfully they can always ask, ‘God are you still with me, do you still hear me? Are you really as powerful as the Chaplain says you are and do you really love me as much as he says you do?’
That is when God silently answers and his love begins to flow and they are reborn again. Their smiles come back again and they are so glad they were able to make Vespers this week, even if they may have missed a part of it. They were present and so was the gentle Holy Spirit touching each one with wisdom, grace and power, in a very personal way.
God is always in the right place and I just want to be with Him as He ministers, in His presence.
1 Corinthians 3:7 “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
I’ve been finishing the “lamentation” commission and now that has been shipped off to it’s new home! I’m also finishing up a commission for st. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.
I’m preparing for teaching my next online icon painting class, April 13-16. And I’ve successfully submitted my application for post graduate work at the Prince’s Foundation School in London for advanced Iconography research. In the next month or so I should hear the status of that.
Another Church Icon Talk
Tomorrow I’ve been asked to give a talk on my work for the Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Bradenton, Florida. I feel so blessed to be here, working in my studio everyday. The winds are gently blowing, the sun is shining and I have all my icon materials and books all around me. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your goodness and blessings!
We send you all our love and best wishes for staying healthy and safe. Do be in touch with your prayer requests- it is our joy to pray for you!
Love and prayers,
Christine and Michael Hales