Sunday, November 8
The Lord’s Day
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Minute for Mission: Caregiver Sunday
Many of us reading these pages are in small churches. This is the norm for our denomination. More than 54 percent of our congregations have fewer than 100 members. It is often a challenge to “bring good news to the poor” when we are the ones feeling oppressed and poverty-stricken.
How can individuals in small churches survive and thrive when they are questioning their ability to exist as a church? Sometimes it seems that there is not much joy in trying to do church with just a handful of people. What can a small church do to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” while caring for themselves and each other? At times we fail to see the strength in the small church.
Today’s lectionary includes passages from Ruth as well as the parable of the least coin. Both illustrate the impact that individual choices can make. Perhaps these stories can guide our care for each other. Mutual caring is the hallmark of the small church. We are there for each other in times of joy and sorrow. We are part of each other’s stories. We are resilient, carrying a history of the past within the present moment and on into an unchartered future.
We quietly proclaim God’s Word in many corners of the world. Perhaps it is in this quiet proclamation and living out of God’s Word that the mission of the small church is fulfilled. We do “bring good news to the poor.” We do “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” We do this precisely by caring for each other in God’s name in small but significant ways.
—Ruth Bischoff Syre, MSN, RN: congregational health coordinator, Centra, Lynchburg, Virginia; faith community nurse and elder,Rustburg Presbyterian Church; moderator, Presbyterian Health Network, Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association
Let us pray
Loving, creating God, we thank you for your presence in our churches, whatever the size. We ask your blessing for those who care for each other, especially in small churches. Give us energy, vitality, and vision to continue to be your hands and feet to a hurting world. Help us recognize the beauty of resilience and the value of each one of your churches and your children. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Ruth 3:1–5, 4:13–17
“Blest Be the Tie That Binds”
GTG 306, HB 473, PH 438
“Let Us Build a House” /
“All Are Welcome”
“Lord, Prepare Me” / “Sanctuary”
“We Give Thee but Thine Own”
GTG 708, HB 312, PH 428