Practice the ministry of presence

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Christian community”
Our Bible verse for today: “See how he loved him!” John 11:36
Our thought for today: “Practice the ministry of presence”
Yesterday we held a celebration of the life of my friend Jim. It was held in the beautiful home that he and Cindi designed and built. It was casual and informal as people drifted in and out throughout the afternoon sharing food, drinks, love, and laughter, telling each other our favorite “Jim stories,” and just being with the family. Jim was a good man who accomplished a lot in his life and he left behind a family that loved him very much. He also had many friends and a church family that will miss him.
The people who came to the celebration were practicing an important element of Christian community – the ministry of presence. It was about honoring Jim and his life, yes, but even more than that it was about offering comfort and support to the family. It is often and rightly said that funerals are for the living not for the dead. The person who has passed away is already in eternity and nothing that is said or done at a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life will effect that person at all. The event is for those who are left behind and who must now get on with life without their loved one.
Jesus practiced the ministry of presence. We see it in the scene in John 11:36. There we read of the death of Jesus’ good friend Lazarus. Jesus was there to comfort the family. Granted, in this case He would also raise Lazarus from the dead afterwards, but He was also there for the family and to share in their grief.
Simply being present for people is an essential element in good Christian community. Whether it’s at a celebration of life, or during a time of sickness, or during any other trial of life, we need to simply be there for each other. It is not a time for preaching, teaching, or mouthing cliches. It is a time to simply carry one another’s burdens and to offer comfort and support.
I encourage all of us to be more intentional about practicing the ministry of presence. Just be there for people.
God bless,
Pastor Jim

(Join us at Oak Hill Baptist Church every Sunday at 10:00. Join us in-person if you are nearby or, if you are geographically distant or if you are a shut-in, join us online at
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