Some pastors are so close to their congregation that they feel like they may as well be living with them.
Hosea Marlowe does.
Sunday mornings at Morningstar Nursing Home, Hosea stands at the front of the dining room as the residents come in. Before each service starts, Hosea sits and prays for God’s guidance.
Hosea hasn’t always been a pastor. He’s lived at Morningstar for 10 years and attended the weekly worship services for all of those years. One Sunday, two years ago, Hosea arrived in the dining room and was told that the speaker had canceled.
”Isn’t there someone who can lead a service?” he asked the nurse.
She shrugged. “Not unless you want to do it.”
Hosea wasn’t prepared to be a pastor, but he looked around and saw the people who were coming and knew God was asking him to bring them His Word. So, for the first time, Hosea bowed his head, prayed and stepped to the front of that room.
He’d done it again every Sunday for two years. Hosea never prepared his messages. He never knew what he’d be talking about before Sunday morning; the Lord told him, each week, after he prayed.
As he waited for the Lord to give him the message, Hosea looked around.
Johanna always sat in front, next to the hymnals. Like him, Johanna had felt adrift when she’d first come to Morningstar. Because she could walk better than most, Johanna passed out hymnals and helped push others to services.
I’m so thankful that You have given me enough strength to help the others.
Billy sat with his head bowed quietly. Hosea sensed Billy was struggling with something. Each week, Hosea prayed. Each week he sensed Billy’s struggle still went on.
If he knew what I’ve done, he wouldn’t let me sit here. The Lord promises to forgive us, but I can’t believe He could forgive me. When I sit here, I feel hope that it could be true. Maybe today…
Across the aisle, Hosea saw Dr. Weiss. Hosea knew the doctor was Jewish, yet he always seemed to arrive in time for the service.
God, I don’t know why I always end up here on Sunday mornings. But something about this man’s words touches my soul. If you want to speak to me today, I’m listening….
Hosea knew Nan couldn’t speak but her eyes glowed when he read the Word, and sometimes he thought he saw her nod when he spoke.
I praise You with my heart, Lord though my mouth is silent.
No one could understand Luna’s words. Her eyes were clouded by confusion, but when the old hymns were sung, she came alive and clearly sang every word - from memory.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms - leaning on the everlasting arms!
Hosea’s heart went out to Joseph. He’d heard the nurses whispering that Joseph didn’t have much longer to live. Did the Lord want him to say something special to comfort Joseph?
Lord, I’ll be seeing you soon. Please help me bear the pain and if I’s Your will, I’d like to see Eva and my grandkids before You take me home.
Hosea knew Tim was going through pain of his own. Tim had been in a wheelchair since his teen years but had always remained active. Lately, Hosea noted Tim was spending more time in his bedroom and that he seemed to be in more pain.
Lord, You’ve always helped me serve You. Now, I’ve had to slow down. Is there anything You still need me for?
At 10 am, he saw Kim. The smiling nurse brought the medication cart to the dining room and began to bring medications to the residents. Kim had told Hosea that she planned her Sunday routine so she could be there to hear the services.
I thank You for Brother Marlowe, who brings Your Word each week, Lord. It makes up for not being able to attend my own church.
He bowed his head again. What could he say to reach all these souls? He looked at each of them, with their separate needs and finally knew what his message for today would be. He stood up and spoke: “Good morning. Can we please sing song number 16?”
Johanna passed out the hymnals. Hosea smiled at his brothers and sisters and the gathered voices sang:
”We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord….”
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