Something I’m learning: When a pastor goes to visit a shut-in or a nursing home or hospital or anything of that sort, their task is sacred. Why? Not only is the pastor physically visiting, but symbolically the pastor is taking God along with him. I’m not stating this as if pastors have some sort of exclusive access to God but rather, when a pastor visits a person, the person is reminded that God is with them. Thus, when the pastor shows up, it’s not just the pastor that cares, but God cares too. And it’s not only the pastor saying, I haven’t forgot about you, but God is also whispering those words. It’s not only the pastor that loves this person, but most importantly, it is a reminder that God still loves them. And this may be the very reason that pastors are called on to visit ill or grieving parishioners.
Bonhoeffer writes, “The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christians a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God.”