A Word from Pastor Tom…
It’s a noun. Not a verb, as in “I am visiting with my family.” In the life of Christianity, it is the name we give to the story of a Mary, pregnant with Jesus, who came visiting Elizabeth who was pregnant with John, who grew to be known as the Baptizer. The baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt at the Visitation of Mary who was pregnant with the Savior Child Jesus.
It’s a noun. As it turns out, a very important one for us all in the journey of faith.
There is a branch of Christianity, commonly referred to as millennialists (popularized by the book “Left Behind” series), who hold to a notion that the faithful will be raptured. That is, they will be taken up to be with Jesus. My purpose in mentioning this bit of religious trivia is not to get lost in a theological debate, but to make a clear distinction regarding God’s course of direction. God comes down to us. That is, the author of all life condescends to take on our nature and be with us. Emmanuel, God is with us.
We experience a Visitation whenever the Kingdom of God breaks into our life, God comes down to us and pushes back the darkness of despair and loss. During the past months I have personally experienced how the Visitation of God happens through the people of God.
Brenda’s cancer diagnosis has changed our lives. Dramatically. Many of you who have been through the big “C” with a loved one understand well this truth. It is not just the symptom bearer who lives with this disease, but the whole family as well. Me, our children, our extended family and friends. Everyone is trying to sort out their reprioritized life as a result of Bren’s diagnosis and treatment. It can feel dark.
This is where you come in. The Kingdom of God has visited Brenda and me through the countless expressions of love you have shared with us. It is impossible to name or count them all but it is very obvious their consequence. We do not feel alone nor are we without hope. We have chosen to live with cancer; we are not dying with it. That decision is made ever more possible because the Kingdom of God continues to come down to us through God’s people. Darkness is pushed back. That is a Visitation.
It is easy to minimize those seemingly small acts of caring. With a wave of the hand, we can dismiss the mailing of a card or the gifting of a meal as no big deal. Don’t. Those are expressions of love that lift a lagging heart and remind the recipient of God’s promises of “Lo, I am with you always.” Maybe there is someone you have not seen for a long time, pandemic et al. Send them a card. Make a phone call. Remind them they are valued, missed, and loved. Gift them with a Visitation.
You are God’s hands and feet; the light of God shines through you and darkness is pushed back. Your Visitation Pastor loves you and hopes to see you soon.