I was one of the “founding members” when the Order of St. Luke prayer team started at my church over ten years ago. Later, when I was ordained as a deacon, I also became a chaplain of this chapter. Having a stroke nearly two years ago, among other things, moved me from being one who prayed for others in this ministry to one who needed and received their prayers myself.
It is one of the gifts Melanie and I have received in this season of our lives. And I have come to recognize that, as much as we treasure those prayers, we have learned to treasure their simple company when they visit our house just as much. That is a gift.
Sometimes they bring other small gifts. One brought me a book about the one judge at the Salem witch trials who later repented, publicly, in church. My shaky hands could barely hold the book to read it, but I was able to cite it in a devotional I was writing at the time. I got to pass on the gift.
Another gift was a bit harder to pass on. A couple of years before the stroke ended my diaconal service, a friend came to see me in my office. She carefully closed the door. She nervously told me she thought the Lord was leading her to consider becoming a deacon herself and she wanted to talk about it. I think she would have been happy to have me talk her out of the idea. I told her I thought she would make a fine deacon! She’s now finished her classes and training and will be ordained next month.
But she won’t serve at our home parish, as she and I both expected at first. She is answering a call to serve a different parish in a nearby town, where the deacon who mentored me years ago during my training has just resigned! I didn’t expect to be repaying that gift in quite this way.
But it is a gift I am glad to share. Even when God changes other things in our lives, the sharing of gifts continues to be a way for us to support and build up one another in the Family of God.