Caring for your Pastor or Priest During This Time
We all are struggling with the current health care situation in many ways. Many of us are adapting to the situation by volunteering our time and talents in a variety of ways or doing things like cleaning closets and cupboards that are long overdue for decluttering. Many are struggling with business closures, layoffs, working from home, isolation, teaching our children, and much more. And our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
We too have had changes. Our family has had to reduce operations at two family businesses. Yet we count our blessings every single day. There is so much to be thankful for. We have food, clothing, and shelter. We have health, and our family is near and everyone is safe and well. We continue to serve as time, resources and the current situation allows.
The days have changed in many ways, yet life continues. The only thing that is vastly different in our lives is the inability to attend worship on a weekly basis. My husband attends every week as head elder and he runs the soundboard. Our church, like many others, is now streamed live on Facebook each week. The pews are empty and the Sacrament of Holy Communion is no longer Celebrated. While this is a struggle for parishioners, the struggles for pastors and priests are even greater.
Their task as pastors or priests is that of a shepherd – to guard and protect their flock. Yet each week during the crises, they can not even see their flock. Difficult decisions must be made regarding the divisions of the Kingdom on the Left and the Kingdom on the Right. Those decisions are not made lightly.
As we begin Holy Week, let us all keep our Dear and Faithful Pastors and Priest, Deacons, and Elders, and all of those who serve in the church in our thoughts and prayers. Our pastors and priests need our prayers in the coming days and weeks. They will need strength and courage as they struggle with difficult questions and decisions as this situation continues to keep them separated from the flock that is in their care.
Yet we are not helpless! There are things that we can do to aid and assist our pastors and priest – just pray, ask, and look around. Ask if there is some little thing that you might assist them with – perhaps making phone calls to shut-ins or the elderly in the congregation. Are there things that can be done a church be a few while the building is closed such as much needed painting or repairs? Do any vestments or other items used at church need sewing or repairs? Have you considered making vestments in the past but never had the time? Perhaps a timely gift of a stole or another item might brighten the days for your pastor or priest. Do altar linens need refreshing or those missing purificators need replacing?
Check-in with your pastors and priests. While they are always checking with their flock to see that everyone is fine, do we check with them? They may be feeling some of the same things that others are – feelings of uncertainty, worry, stress, and the like.
Please think of things you can do to provide words of comfort and strength to them. Consider making or sending them a card with a Bible verse about comfort, strength, or another appropriate verse. Or send them a card, letting them know that they are in your prayers and that you are praying that they are given strength and wisdom for the days and weeks ahead. Most importantly, pray for your pastors each and every day. Pastors and priests need our love and care each and every day. Let us all be a source of strength and encouragement to them during the days and weeks ahead.
Soli Deo Gloria