The Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study dates back to 1892 and has the longest history of any denominational mission and prayer book in the United States.
Today’s PC(USA) Minute for Mission from the Mission Yearbook…
W hat can you do?” muttered the grief-stricken teenage son of a heart-attack victim during the dark morning hours at a community hospital. Having only been a hospital chaplain for a few weeks, I had no answer for him. Instead, I offered what I could: “I could pray with you or call your spiritual leader?” He shook his head and turned back into the dim room where his mother and siblings were.
I sat down at the nurse’s station, feeling completely helpless. I was only a student chaplain, there to fulfill a requirement for ordination. Yet somehow here I was: the chaplain to a grieving family; helpless.
It is easy to keep those who sit in darkness at arm’s length, whether they are grieving the loss of a loved one, drowning in debt, or dealing with abusive relationships. We can sit next to them and have no idea how dark their shadows are. That night I could no longer keep those sitting in darkness at arm’s length, and I saw with new clarity how that person was me. I and this family sat in death’s shadow that night—the death of a loved one and the death of the self-reliant me.
The reign of Christ is no longer an abstract concept for me. In Luke 1:78–79, we are reminded that even in the midst of the deepest darkness God will bring the dawn and somehow guide our lives and world into the way of peace. Christ’s reign can be embodied in us each time we act on the prayer “Thy will be done.” It is not our helplessness that makes us weak but our unwillingness to be the body of Christ for the world.
I was not helpless that night, but I had made a mistake. My mistake was thinking that what the family needed was me.
—Emily Hope Morgan, author of the blog Fight the Bees!