I’ll be praying for you Pastor. Simple words. I am sure many pastors hear those words from their parishioners. I have no parishioners right now. Even when I was a pastor, I rarely was called Pastor.
Somehow, I was always just Joyce. That’s okay, because I’ve never been much for titles. I am just Joyce.
Where did these words come from today? They came on Facebook. They came from a person I do not know, have never met and know nothing about. I have many friends of Facebook. I have 500 of them now.
Some are friends in the truest sense. I know them. They know me. We’ve had a relationship in real time and space. My dear friend and sista Barbara is a friend there. I have friends who met me in various stages of youth. Some continue to be close. Some I seemed to have picked up right where we left off 40 years ago. Other are nodding acquaintances from the past.
Some are family. I have a niece that I never knew at all when she was growing up. It’s like that with my family. I guess we all care about each other on some level, but we hardly know each other. This niece is a strong woman who I have come to admire. Occasionally she will email or comment. She calls me Aunt Joyce. I like that. I like that because it acknowledges me as her family. I don’t really know her. I was never there for her birthday parties or graduations while she was growing. I think I would have liked to have been there when she was growing up. I lived too far away in both distance and emotion. Now I get to peek in her life and get to know her by reading her blogs, or those occasional comments on Facebook. I don’t know her brothers at all.
I have some friends who are Norwegian relatives that I never knew existed. They live in Norway. I knew I had relatives in Norway. I suspect some of them didn’t know they had relatives in the US. Recently someone from my grandfather’s side of the family, the Swedish side, has appeared in my virtual world. I long to go to Norway. I want to meet them in person. I am very much a family person.
Then there are these other friends on Facebook. They are a variety of people who I’ve never met. Some of them when I see their names I wonder, why am I friends with this person? Sometimes I think I should just go through the list and de-friend some of them. Not because they have done something wrong or I don’t like them. I just don’t know them.
In this group are assortments of people who have some connection to me. They know someone I know and Facebook suggested them. Then there are people from various church associations.
In the last 24 hours, my Facebook virtual world has given me much comfort. Immediately people I know as well as people I do not know have offered me prayers and support. Some of them even know my mother or my family. It helps.
I’ll be praying for you Pastor. Simple words. I looked for the name of the person offering prayer and comfort. I looked at the name. Who is he? I didn’t recognize the name. I didn’t even know the person was a friend. Then I vaguely remembered he was someone who got the suggestion that I might know him and asked to friend me. He is a fellow minister of the gospel who lives across the ocean.
The virtual world may be artificial at times. What is not artificial is the body of Christ. The body of Christ, the church, transcends time, space, and culture. These simple words, I’ll be praying for you Pastor ministered to me this morning.
Romans 12:4-6a (The Message) In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be…