He Sees Us As We Are: Tending the Sick

Keep watch, dear Lord,
with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ;
give rest to the weary,
bless the dying,
soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted,
shield the joyous;
and all for your love’s sake.
Amen.
~Common Book of Prayer

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1Corinthians 12:27

Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands,
yours are the feet,
yours are the eyes,
you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
~Teresa of Avila

The whole mass of Christians
are the physical organism through which Christ acts—
that we are his fingers and muscles,
the cells of His body
.
~C.S. Lewis

Thousands are working around the clock
to tend to those who are ill and hurting,
~even at their own peril~
just as those who love the body of Christ
have done through centuries
of plagues and pandemics.

They know,
despite their own weariness,
each one who suffers,
each dear one,
is part of His body,
part of Our body.

We are the cells of His Being
still walking, weeping, loving
on this trembling earth.

This year’s Lenten theme on Barnstorming:

God sees us as we are,
loves us as we are,
and accepts us as we are.
But by His grace,
He does not leave us where we are.
~Tim Keller


From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God Deliver me O God

And I shall not want,
I shall not want when I taste Your goodness
I shall not want when I taste Your goodness
I shall not want
From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God Deliver me O God
~Audrey Assad “I Shall Not Want”

A Faithless Tree

frontyardwalnut

evening1316

aleaf3

 

Each year I mark one lone outstanding tree,
Clad in its robings of the summer past,
Dry, wan, and shivering in the wintry blast.
It will not pay the season’s rightful fee,—
It will not set its frost-burnt leafage free;
But like some palsied miser all aghast,
Who hoards his sordid treasure to the last,
It sighs, it moans, it sings in eldritch glee.
A foolish tree, to dote on summers gone;
A faithless tree, that never feels how spring
Creeps up the world to make a leafy dawn,
And recompense for all despoilment bring!
Oh, let me not, heyday and youth withdrawn,
With failing hands to their vain semblance cling!
~Edith Matilda Thomas “Winter Leafage”

_________________________

Decades ago, while I worked as a nurses’ aide in a nursing home, I cared for a little slip of a lady almost 100 years of age who would not go down the hall to breakfast without her make up on.  Wearing makeup was more important than putting on clothing to her, so our daily morning routine was prolonged considerably as she meticulously penciled over her invisible eyebrows, caked on powder on her forehead, nose and cheeks to cover the wrinkles, and tremulously applied a wavery thick border of red lipstick on her thin lips.  I tried to tell her how lovely she was without a mask on, how her weathered skin deserved to be seen and admired, how her eyes shone more brightly without the crumbling mascara on non-existent eyelashes.  She would have none of it.  She had never appeared in public without her makeup since her teenage years, and she was not about to start now.

She clung to the fading leaves of her youth, holding on with all her might to what she believed kept her beautiful, so we continued to preserve her “frost-burnt leafage”,  covering up her thin bones and her wrinkled face.

She died quietly in her sleep one night so my morning duty was to prepare her body for the coming mortician.  I washed her lovely face clean for the last time, admiring her without the cover, appreciating each wrinkle’s fold and crevice, knowing she now was made new in a leafy dawn I could only imagine.

The mortician would do what was needed to dress her up to her specifications.  But only I had seen the beauty underneath.

geese1119154

 

barebones7

sunset1111154