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 ...

December
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
A Good Pastor at the Hour of Death
A Good Pastor at the Hour of Death
How one pastor was blessed by the pastoral care of another.
From the Magazine
Cambodian Spies Were Watching Me. So Was Someone Else.
Cambodian Spies Were Watching Me. So Was Someone Else.
After escaping the Khmer Rouge with my siblings, I learned who had been protecting me all along.
Editor's Pick
To Be a Pastor Is to Know Betrayal
To Be a Pastor Is to Know Betrayal
Apprenticing Jesus in a cruciform call.
close