Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How do we show love?

A friend of mine lost her husband through cancer. At the time of his death he was pastoring a church, and they were living in a church-owned house. His widow was very involved in her husband’s ministry and held a leadership position. Following his death, she felt she couldn’t continue with this role, feeling her involvement would make it difficult for the next pastor. Every pastor has his own focus on what is important in ministry, and no two pastors will have exactly the same priorities. For these reasons she decided to leave.

The church was in no hurry for her to go, but since she owned a holiday house a couple of hours away, she decided to move into this house and allow the church to move on with the task of finding a new pastor. It all seemed so smooth until you consider that in the space of six weeks, this new widow found herself living in an isolated community having lost her husband, her home, her ministry and her friends. She experienced Job-like losses in her life, which went largely unacknowledged by the Christian community.

Being a pastor’s wife myself, I thought a lot about her losses and felt weighed down. My difficulties seemed so small in comparison. But I also began to wonder about the practicalities of living in a church-owned house. In what other occupation do you have to move if your husband dies? I wondered about my friend’s Christian community, could they have loved and supported her more? Could they have insisted she stay? Would that have been wise? I wondered how, on a broader scale, do we show love and support for each other in our Christian communities, so that the world will know we are Christians? (John 13:35)

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