As I blog today, I have just received news that one of our dear sisters has passed on into eternity. Betty S. was a special person to many of us here at NDC. For Deb and me, Betty was one of the first people who invited us to her home for dinner. We would visit and share with Betty and her daughter Anne many times over the years. It was about 6 years ago when Betty had health issues that resulted in her needing to go on dialysis for kidney failure. It was at this point that I saw one of the special manifestations of the presence of Jesus at NDC. It is not too strong of a statement to say “I saw Jesus in the love and care the church family showed to Betty”.
Paul tells the Galatians in the 6th chapter of his letter to the church “Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (v. 2 NASB). Even before Betty went into dialysis, a number of men were involved in caring for Betty’s lawn. Our youth group went a number of times and worked on her yard. Several people and families helped clear her sidewalks when it snowed. When Betty started dialysis, it was the people of the church who drove her faithfully and consistently back and forth to the dialysis center. A rotation was set up and many people gave freely of their time and energy in providing this ministry to her. No one ever complained (at least not to me). Thank you NDC for being Jesus’ hands and feet to Betty. When Betty moved out of her home 3 or 4 years ago, it was the men of the church who moved her. Thank you all for serving as the body of Christ to her. As the pastor of NDC I rejoice whenever I see the body functioning as it is supposed to, to minister to our hurting members. As I reflect on Betty’s life, I am reminded that this is what the body of Christ is supposed to be doing. James reminds us “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (1:27, NASB). I remember a desk attendant at the senior housing whom I told that I was the pastor of New Durham Chapel and she said “Oh you have a wonderful church”. She knew of our ministry to Betty.
Over the last few months those of us who were close to Betty watched as she rapidly regressed in her mental and physical health. I am glad her suffering has ended. I am sad I will not be seeing her again in this life but I know she is in a much better place. You see, Betty was safe in the hands of her good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now she has been brought into God’s eternal presence. I am most thankful for the hope we have as believers in Jesus Christ that this life isn’t all there is. I am thankful that Betty knew Jesus as her personal Savior. But I also want to say for those of you who ministered to Betty over the last 8 years that there is no greater compliment I can say than to tell you “I saw Jesus in you”. Thank you all for your gift of caring “in Jesus Name”. The whole experience reminds me of the importance of being part of a caring Christian fellowship.
All for Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo