BY JO BETH HOLLAND BOYLES |
Since disciples of Jesus are to be known by the love they have to one another (John 13:35), we will cherish Christian love as of prime importance.
I had planned to write on the blessing of visitation to our shut-ins, which now I think we can all understand just a little since we are all social distancing at this time. I feel that the modern church has shut out many of our faithful. Yes, we are in contact by email, Facebook, and texting but there is something said about the visit from the preacher. Rev. John Giesler had told me that he felt it was his duty to visit the shut-ins on a weekly basis, as many of these members had attended worship and served each Sunday as long as their health would allow.
As a young woman with a sick mother, I certainly appreciated this witness. My dad also benefited from these short visits as many times spouses become homebound as caregivers. Rev. Henry Lewis, pastor of Bethabara Moravian while I was growing up, visited our family on a regular basis just to check-in. During one sermon, Pastor Lewis said that houses did not need to be spotless, as that was not the purpose of his visit.
A former member who grew up Pentecostal once told me that it seemed that his Pentecostal minister was always visiting his flock. He had a full-time job of visitation, in addition to leading the church. There is something to be said about a pastor coming to visit in our homes. It gives the opportunity for the friendship to grow outside the church walls. It gives children the chance to introduce the family pet, show a treasured possession, or ask a question about God in the comfort of their own home. While we’ve had very few pastoral visits over the years, it is heartening that more and more lay people are now involved in reaching out to each other. Pastors have a heavy load, especially now, and we can all do our part to make those important connections.
I enjoy history and Daniel Boone’s wife Rebecca Boone had a visit from a Moravian minister when Daniel was on a long hunt of over two years and was presumed dead. This family lived in what is now the Mocksville, NC area and were Quakers. This visit to Rebecca in the 1700s is in Moravian records-a biography about Rebecca and also a biography about Daniel Boone. Today, the trip to the Boone house would be a 45-minute car ride but was not easy travel on horseback in the Boone’s time. It touched me that a visit so long ago could echo through time.
As we experience these few weeks of social distancing let us pray for those who in our congregations that have been experiencing this for quite some time and we pray that shut-ins and all those isolated during this extraordinary time will experience the blessing of additional contact, even through video chat or phone calls, from pastors and each other.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.- 1 John 1:7
About the Author
Jo Beth Holland Boyles has a great appreciation for history and genealogy. She serves the Lord by playing the flute at Bethabara Moravian Church. Her husband, Robby, sings in the choir and she has two grown children, Katie and Robert. The picture above is of Jo Beth from the 1970s at Historic Bethabara.