Barb Roberts, author of Helping Those Who Hurt: A Handbook for Caring and Crisis (NavPress, 2009), happens to be one of the most thoughtful and intentional practitioner-thinkers I know in the pastoral ministry of caring and mercy. I have the privilege of working alongside her at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church and, as a young pastor, I can’t express how valuable it is to glean insights from her wisdom and experience in caring for all kinds of people the way Jesus modeled.
Her blog is a very helpful tool for those seeking wisdom in caring and mercy ministries in the local church context. Her recent post, “Caring and Worship,” ties together these two fields of ministry within the local church. We often don’t think of caring and worship as topics which intertwine, but they are actually inseparably woven together. Barb points out in her post that the Psalms reveal God’s heart for His ministry of caring and mercy in the context of worship. I’ve often spoken of the benefits of worship–healing, satisfaction, restoration, reconciliation–as being by-products of worship, the “residue” of properly oriented hearts, minds, and bodies. We don’t seek these things as ends of worship, despite the fact that we often talk about worship as though our highest priority in it is to “be fed,” as opposed to encounter the Living God and pour out our gifted response to Him.
Revive the parched with heavenly showers,
The cold with warmth divine;
And as the benefit is ours,
Be all the glory Thine.
(listen to the song)
We often forget that as we pour out our worship to God in the context of His people, His Spirit is moving about us, performing “open heart surgery,” and sometimes we miss out on this in big and small ways as we dam up our receptivity by being distracted. But, make no mistake. Barb is right. In our worship, God is actively involved in the ministry of caring and healing in our worship. This, along with countless other things, is a blessed grace that we don’t deserve but God freely gives. Go read Barb’s post!