Jump directly to the Content

Your Presence Is a Living Sermon

Showing up makes God’s love tangible when people need it most.
简体中文繁體中文
Your Presence Is a Living Sermon
Image: Illustration by Rick Szuecs | Source images: View Stock / Getty | Ryan Klintworth / Lightstock

My first deathbed visit as a pastor was with a person I’d never met. On the drive over, I wondered what I would say and if I’d be able to keep my emotions in check. But, primarily, I felt grateful that I would not be ministering on my own. I was apprenticing an older priest at the time; she was an experienced pastor and I a self-conscious twenty-something. She’d planned to visit a dying woman in a nursing home that afternoon, and she invited me to join her.

At the woman’s bedside, we prayed a short liturgy for the time of death from The Book of Common Prayer. My mentor graciously delegated a few of the prayers and readings to me, but my main job in being there was to watch and learn. Neither of us knew the woman who was approaching her last breaths—we came at the request of her daughters—but my mentor greeted her warmly and confidently. I saw how she gently held and anointed the frail, failing hands. I noticed her fight back tears.

It was a fairly unsensational ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

November
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
The Pastor as Volunteer
The Pastor as Volunteer
The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Serving Outside Your Church
From the Magazine
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
How Scripture Keeps Surprising Me
As a child, I hid God’s Word in my heart. Now it sneaks out when I least expect it.
Editor's Pick
Who Canceled the Apostle Paul?
Who Canceled the Apostle Paul?
Lessons from the first Christian influencer on how to lead when you are hated.
close