Newton Cowan, Transitional Director of Pastoral Care

Recently I was invited to lunch, set up by a layperson and some other pastors. These folks represent different traditions, but under the umbrella of Christians, trusting Christ as our Lord and Savior.

We had a nice conversation, sharing about our call stories and ministries. The food was served. As the waitress began to walk away, and asked if we needed anything else, my friend, the layperson asked her name. She shared it. Then he said, “We are going to pray before the meal, how can we pray for you today?” She was stunned. She paused and was overcome with appreciation for being seen, and for someone to ask “how we can pray for you?”  She asked for a prayer that she might find some peace.

Several times she came back to the table expressing overwhelming gratitude for the request and the prayer. Did you notice who did the asking? It was not me, or the other pastors, it was the layperson.

Perhaps we should have all taken off our shoes because we were standing on Holy Ground. The Holy Spirit was present, and it was palpable. To be honest, I was both moved and somewhat embarrassed. Embarrassed thinking, why don’t I do this? Why don’t I make this gesture towards someone else?

What about you? Would you be this bold?

This act of caring, compassion at seeing the other person, is not relegated to the clergy. I learned from this experience. I am hopeful I can initiate this practice with folks I have never met, in situations that people would not expect to be asked, how can I/we pray for you? On this side of Easter Sunday, once again singing Alleluia, Jesus Christ has risen today, how will we be open to witnessing resurrection in lots of new and exciting ways?