He has been dead many years, but one of the people I have cherished in my life was Reverend Dennis. He was a retired United Methodist minister who lived at the Methodist Oaks. He served St. Matthews and was still adored by his former parishioners years after he had served the church. My first week as chaplain, he came into my office and introduced himself. He said, ”You have all the residents to care for as chaplain, but I will be your minister.” What a gift. So many times I went to his cozy apartment and sat for a conversation.
One of our beloved residents chose to commit suicide. All of the residents were devastated. I conducted his funeral even though I was as grief stricken as everyone else. After completing the graveside service, I stepped away from the funeral tent and stood behind a large tree, finally allowing myself to cry. There was Reverend Dennis ready with a comforting hug. He truly was my pastor and friend.
I tell you this story as I think about the disciple who comforted Mary at the crucifixion. Probably his arms encircled her, comforting her as she grieved for her son at the foot of the cross.
This week during Holy week think about the people who have comforted you and give thanks for them. But as you reflect think also about the ways you can be a comfort to others.
For us at Aldersgate, comforting others is an important part of ministry. This may mean comforting those outside our usual circle of friends. It was not comfortable to stand at the foot of the cross during Jesus’ death, but his friends stayed. Can we be the people who bring comfort to the world?