My family and especially my mother-in-law have been the recipients of care in these past few weeks. With my father-in-law’s rapid decline across this month and his death last week, she and we have received representations of care and love in the form of cards, calls, casseroles and soups, flowers, plants, and hugs. For a church community, these are expressions of care for another member of the congregational family, as well as a way of living out biblical calls to care for the orphan and the widow. The person or people receiving the care are invited to be vulnerable in a good way – to be open to receiving the offered care.

I was overwhelmed by the generous care offered to me and my new family when I was serving in my first congregation. Having been with them for five years, I gave birth to my first child. David and I were stunned by the food delivered to us and offers of help. My colleague there helped me understand the generosity as an expression of care for me who had been a pastoral presence and caregiver to many of them. The tables were turned and we had a chance to receive.

Sometimes it is hard to ask for help and to receive the gifts of caring and concern. Being vulnerable and open can feel risky – but Jesus invites us to take that risk. The church community is strengthened by this, as will be your own spiritual journey.