Advent #2 Comfort
A formative class I took in seminary was “Clinical Pastoral Education” (or C.P.E.). It was a hospital-based class that taught us how to minister in a clinical setting. We were assigned various units at the hospital. We were taught how to read and write our activity on patient charts. We did rounds and were assigned overnight duty in the Emergency Room. We attended autopsies and had intensive group sessions.
One of the more rigorous parts of C.P.E. was having our supervisor shadow us as we visited patients. Later in the day, he debriefed us on our bedside manner and our language. Until that experience, I had no idea how fast I talked, how much I interrupted people and how forcefully I directed the conversation. My supervisor’s word to me was “relax and listen.”
I’m still trying to remember and relearn those lessons. Because the question from Isaiah 40:6 is as relevant today as ever: “What shall I cry (say)?” What should I be saying (or not saying)? What is the message that I should bring? What is it that you and I should say in the circumstances in which we find ourselves? For some of us, the challenge is to not say too much. For others of us, the challenge is to share openly from our hearts. But for all of us, the deepest question is, what does God want us to say?
The two repeated words from Isaiah 40:1 is the answer: Comfort. As you prepare for worship this coming Sunday, reflect on this word “Comfort.” Where do you find comfort? Where do you expect comfort? Where do you need comfort? Where do you provide comfort?