The Context for Giving Christ to the Long-Term Care Population
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NKJV).
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life – the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us – that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1John 1:1-5 NKJV).
God has given many of us the honor of His call to ministry in long-term care settings. As we wade into the sea of loss and hurt and suffering of a nursing home, it is not unusual to be overwhelmed by the needs around us. We love them. We want to help them. It is easy to forget Who sent us…Who is with us…as we seek to be a blessing. Oh how important it is for us to stay focused on bearing witness to the love and grace and glory of the person of Jesus Christ to the elderly and the infirm.
Look again at the Scriptures quoted above. Mortal men witnessed and bore record of His glory. Not just one or two persons saw His glory. He demonstrated His pedigree for all to try to grasp with their mortal minds. For three and one-half years Christ manifested pure supreme divinity for anyone who wanted to see (John 10:25, 31;18:20). He ALWAYS said what His Father was leading Him to say (John12:49-50).
We must stress here the importance of the fact that God the Son, who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, came into our fallen world and took on human flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John1:1). “…and we beheld His glory!” Human beings touched Him. They loved Him. They tried to understand Him and follow Him as their teacher.
God did not come to His people as He had when He gave Moses His commandments for the newborn nation of the Hebrews. God did not shroud Himself in lofty clouds and fire and smoke as He did on Mt. Sinai. He did not burst into man’s world with violent explosions as He did when He gave Israel His laws. He did not command the attention of every man, woman and child with blaring, deafening trumpets sounding as He did in the desert. Oh no!
Instead, God said He wanted us to see Him, to hear Him, to know Him as He really is…to understand Him as He really thinks and feels…to see Him as the person that He is…in the sheer, brilliant glory of the light of His loving, life-giving heart. God gave us His GLORIOUS WORD!!! With His Word He communicated perfectly His deity and His beauty and His might and His mercy and His love…HIS GLORY. And He did so with His own human eyes that saw into our souls – yet those eyes did not glare with unqualified condemnation but rather flowed with tears of compassion and love. He did so with human ears that listened to our trivialities and subtleties with patience and understanding. He did so with human lips that spoke our coarse language with piercing kindness and truth. He did so with the touch of His hand, not just on our soft rosy cheeks but on the oozing cankers of our leprosy and the lifeless flesh of our dead bodies.
God came into our hopelessness with buckets full of hope to share. He came into our lovelessness with gigantic, towering unselfishness. He came into our depravity and our filth with the spotless garments of holy righteousness. He came into our disobedience and rebellion with the medicine of forgiveness and the healing of His deliverance. He came into our blind unbelief with the brilliant Light of the world. He came to show not only our need for His salvation, but mankind gazed upon His divine will and His supernatural power to save! What a wonderful witness…what melodious words: we beheld His glory!!!!!!! In Christ the glory of God is revealed in the restoration of the harmony of man with His Maker.
So, dear volunteer, dear nursing home minister, look back into your life in Christ. Hold fast the vision He has given you of His love and His glory. Never forget the reality of His saving grace which He is constantly pouring into your own life. He is the only One with the answer and the only one with the power to deliver that answer to the world of suffering and despair that we so often encounter in our labor for Him in nursing home ministry. Bear witness to His love! Bear witness to His glory! You carry in your heart the message of Jesus Christ’s compassionate, delivering power…GIVE IT to those destitute and thirsty for faith and hope and love.