Monday, February 25, 2008

Bibles, Blogs, and Ministry

My friend Adam asked several of us to participate in a guest blogger series on Ministry and the Bible. Mine is now posted on his blog along with the other eight entries. Adam is interning over in Scotland this year and always has interesting things to say! I encourage you to check out his blog!
A Bible, a Bookshelf, and a Hospital Bed
by Erin Kobs

I have this little Bible with a black leather cover. I carried it with me during my rounds when I was a chaplain at a hospital this past summer. There were times when I used it, especially when patients requested to hear some scripture. The floor where I used it the most was the inpatient psychiatric floor. I spent a good amount of time on the 5th floor. There are two times that stand out in my mind. One was with a patient who requested a chaplain read scripture to her as she was going to sleep each night. So, I spent several nights sitting by her bed, reading portions of Proverbs, which she found comforting. Another time was with a patient who was having a difficult time being in the hospital. I remember sitting with him, listening to his struggles, and I offered to read him a passage from Isaiah 54, verses 7-10. He found great comfort in those verses, and then was able to open up to me more about what was really going on for him. It was a truly powerful experience. The nurses commented they noticed a difference in him after that, and they were always truly grateful for chaplains who were able to communicate with patients on a whole other level.

My Bible went with me everywhere those three months. Sometimes, I never opened it in patient’s rooms, because conversation and prayer was all they wanted or needed, but it was always there. I treasure each of the holy moments I spent with people, all of the tears shed, all of it.

Now, my Bible sits on my desk at the church alongside my Book of Order, PC(USA) Hymnal, and my Book of Common Worship. I mostly use it to plan liturgies, write sermons, or look up passages for the coming Sunday. I never take it with me when I go on visitations in hospitals or homes. The pastor I work with does not carry one either. Instead, we have conversations with people and pray with them. Although, my Bible is not with me during these times, I know it informs what I do and what I say. I must admit, I miss it sometimes.

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