Last night I received something that I’ve never gotten in my four plus years as a pastor: a middle-of-the-night phone call. It was a nurse at our local hospital letting me know of the deteriorating situation of one of the members of my congregation. She assured me that I could wait to see him until morning unless his situation worsened, but she couldn’t let him continue without calling me.
Some people who aren’t pastors might think that I would hate this. Getting calls in the middle of the night, visiting people who are sick, dying, or both in the hospital — to many these kinds of things sound awful.
But not to me. Rather, these kinds of things truly are a privilege for me to do as a pastor. I don’t have to stand awkwardly in a hospital room not knowing what to say or being unable to help. I do know what to say. I can help. I can’t make the pain go away or change medications, but I can share the Good News that the Savior is with the person in that hospital bed. I can share with that person the forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I can give that person Jesus’ body and blood together with the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper to build up his faith and hope. I can do these things, not because of something in me, but because God has called me and given his Word and Sacraments the power to work. It is truly a blessing and a privilege.
These are some of the words I shared with this person, from the Psalms.
give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.