"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35 - 38 NIV
A Compassionate Community
Dear friends, you might consider this post to be an overreach, or one of my rambles, but here goes. While contemplating a "C" word for this post, I was drawn to words of comfort. Perhaps this contemplation of comfort words gives evidence of my soul's longing. A longing for peace. A longing for gentle and safe times. A longing for compassion and community.
After reading the messages of our other blog post writers, I decided on the following. InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship is a creative, compassionate community of writers who care. Although we are scattered geographical boundaries, we have a common foundation through our faith. We also share a common interest through the ministry of writing. As followers of Jesus Christ, we express His compassion, a capacity to express sorrow, for the helpless condition of other people.
We are called into a harassed and helpless world.
The constant barrage of tragedy, violence, and calamitous news of the world is too much to absorb. Even children are bombarded with the effects of sin pushed on them these days. I wonder to what depth they have been robbed of their innocence and trust in adults.
InScribe Writers compassionate community uses words to speak into the darkness of the world's heartbreak. This may seem like a tall order, but it can be done. We can do this together. We can do this!
Perhaps through your writing you have cried for the world. Well, my friends, like the words of mercy from Jesus, your tears are not wasted, neither are they sucked into a deep vortex of nothingness. Our sorrow, our words of mercy, beat with the heart of God.
If not for hope in God, where would we be? What would be the purpose of the words we write? Our words include the power to heal or harm. As a compassionate community of writers who are Christians, we choose to compose words of writers who care.
A Short Story
Some of you know I worked as a chaplain in healthcare for years. After retirement, I was left with memories of people I served. I wrote these memories into stories, with a hope of sharing them with others. I call these stories "Lessons from my Teachers." Here is one of these short stories from a personal encounter I was honoured to experience.
His Bible and Teddy Bear
I entered the room minutes after the old gentleman breathed his last. The room felt still. His wife held his hand as she stood by his bed and informed me, "he died just a few minutes ago". She then said in a quiet voice, "He's at peace now!" Such a tender and sacred moment to witness. She clasped something in her hands, and I saw it was his Bible. His Bible was to go in his coffin with him along with his favourite stuffed animal, a teddy bear. She said he would like this!
She seemed almost emotionless as she left the room and looked so fragile, as if at any second, she would break. I helped her carry his belongings and personal effects down the hallway of the care home.
A taxi was waiting outside. The driver greeted her with a smile and "how are you today?" She got into the cab without saying a word and waved to me as the taxi took her away. She was going home to make the arrangements. Family had to be called. Meetings with the funeral director would be in her near future. I remember what was important to her as she readied to say goodbye to her husband. She wanted to make sure that when he was placed in his casket, he wouldn't be alone. His Bible and his teddy bear would be with him! Such a poignant scene as this would be.
I know from personal experience; our stories can bring healing to people. Think of memories locked away in your memory and how these stories have the power to heal.
Searching Questions for our Calling
Do your words ever weep as you write? If they do, what do they teach you?
Lord Have Mercy
May we never lose our compassion for those harassed, helpless, and without the Shepherd. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He is currently working on a book expressing the grief of grieving grandparents entitled “Hidden Poetic Voices: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry.” Alan periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. He recently volunteered to be the Writing Group Coordinator for InScribe. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca.
Thank you, Alan, for this call to comfort others. Amen to: "InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship is a creative, compassionate community of writers who care."ReplyDelete
Yes, I also believe we are called to be Christ's hands and heart to help the "harassed and helpless."
Tears are messengers. I'm glad to read you understand their power. They are worthwhile to listen to and harvest words from. (It's a side writing project I'm working on. Tapping into tears is a poignant journey.)
Blessings, dear brother.
Hi Wendy! My Teachers taught me the power of tears a long time ago. If we don't listen to a person's tears we don't really listen. I am super curious about your "side writing project."Delete
Your story made me cry. I felt like I was in the room with the woman and her husband (and you). Powerful, heartfelt post.ReplyDelete
Dear Sally, Thank you for your heart as you read my post. Yes, the gift of being with this couple has stayed with me over the years.Delete
Hello, Alan. What a perceptive and stirring post. I agree strongly that our stories can bring healing and hope. May we continue to share them. Would love to hear more about your time as a chaplain. Such a blessed and challenging calling. Thanks for sharing your own compassionate heart once again.ReplyDelete
Hi Sharon! I loved my work as a chaplain. Yes, real life stories of real life people are the stuff of life.Delete
A very heartfelt and powerful post. (Also full of C words! Well done!) You have such a big heart.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Tracy! I had fun with the C words. They seemed to jump at me as I wrote the post.Delete
What a tender and caring post. Thank you for sharing, Alan. The story of the elderly gentleman's wife and her continuing care for her husband is a powerful example of love.ReplyDelete
Dear Lorrie. Yes, I had the honour of coming alongside a lot of people including those at the end of life. Often at the end of a loved one's life a spouse is initially in shock even when a death is expected. I liked to be there when I could in order to be a presence for the spouse.Delete
I love how you say that we are a community of writers and how we can do this together. Some days the darkness of our world feels so hopeless but knowing that we can support each other in our writing brings so much hope and comfort. You’re a great cheerleader Alan and I can see you being so tender with this lady. No doubt you were a great chaplain too. Love your stories.ReplyDelete
Hi Pam! I am moved by your comments and appreciate your encouragement. I am all for us supporting each however we can. Please feel free to message me anytime if you want to chat about our writing.Delete
"Our words include the power to heal or harm. As a compassionate community of writers who are Christians, we choose to compose words of writers who care." Thanks for such uplifting words for us in a dark world, Alan! We write to care, heal, be compassionate, and give encouragement. And thanks for your lovely story, too!ReplyDelete
Hi Sandi! Yes, in this dark world we can encourage each other as best we can. We can keep on writing and brininging light to other people.Delete
"Our words include the power to heal or harm. As a compassionate community of writers who are Christians, we choose to compose words of writers who care." A+ for writing about C words, Alan.ReplyDelete