A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, April 17, 2014
In Which I Am a Pianist and a Chaplain
Today was a busy day! Since it was Maundy Thursday, I had a good deal to take care of today. And tonight. After dashing to church to make certain the bulletin and order of worship for Good Friday’s worship service was all set, I dashed—again—over to the senior residence to play for the health care Maundy Thursday services. I do love being of service to the dear elderly people. Whether infirm, or cognitively impaired, or both, I consider this an important part of my ministry.
The dramatic reading in the brief services today took the place of a sermon. Given the material covered from the book of Luke, the reading certainly provided a great deal of interest. And raw emotion. Spiritual impact, too. I heard the reading given three separate times, and each time different things stood out for me.
Yes, I was of service. And yes, I did play a number of pieces and arrangements of hymns and gospel songs. I felt useful and needed. I guess being of service regularly would help that. The useful and needed parts, I mean. Then, lunch with several chaplains. That’s always a pleasant opportunity that I have: having a meal at the retirement center where I sometimes play the piano. Such a great place to continue relationships, too.
But, wait! That’s not all! I continued to be of service with a good friend this afternoon. I listened, and served as an (unofficial) chaplain. Really, my active listening skills came to the forefront. I didn’t even have to “turn them on,” because the skills just sort of turned on, by themselves. I heard about the continuing challenges and difficulties in my good friend’s life. I think I made a difference, just being there. Just listening and trying to understand.
I guess both situations are places where I tried to journey a little way with others. In the first case, I played the piano and journeyed with these dear seniors as they experienced an important worship service today—Maundy Thursday communion service. And then, my friend this afternoon. I really tried to understand a little more and provide what encouragement I could. In other words, I tried to journey with my friend for a little while. As my mentor Claude-Marie Barbour has said many, many times, journeying with someone is the most important part of being with them in a pastoral or spiritual way.
Just thinking of her is a reminder for me to pray for my mentor and friend Claude-Marie. I do wish her well! And I will call her after Easter to give her my best Easter greetings, too! Except—we need to get through Good Friday, first. Going through the valley of the shadow, journeying with Jesus as He walked that lonesome road through Gethsemane and beyond.
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