How have you been feeling? What has been going on with you since your last visit? Have you been taking your medicine? After another dozen or so questions my friend answered and after the obligatory blood draw, I escorted him back to one of two infusion rooms to receive his fourth round of chemotherapy.
An infusion center is an attempt to be proficient and efficient in administering powerful medicine to fight a powerful adversary – cancer. My friend took the last of twenty-one chairs. Most patients have a family or friend with them. Young, old, male, female, black, white, Hispanic, poor and rich, cancer knows no boundaries and is no respecter of people.
Every infusion center I have visited has always been full of people. Every person has a story to tell if one is willing to listen. History comes alive, dreams fulfilled or not are shared, one actually feels the joy, hope and fear experienced by a patient or family member. Often times hope is placed in the liquid streaming from a bag hanging on a pole entering one's body through a port surgically placed into the upper chest. In these infusion centers friendships are made, genuine care and concern is expressed – and hope is infused into the hearts of people.
Churches are infusion centers too. Like people who come to infusion centers for “treatment” so too do people come to churches to be infused with eternal salvation, hope, forgiveness, grace, mercy, friendship, love, healing and acceptance.
In attitudes and actions churches should not be like museums where people go to look at things of the past but have no current relevance. Church is not to be like a retirement home where people go to spend their “golden years.” Church shouldn't be like funeral homes – where people gather to observe and honor what was once alive and now has passed. Neither are churches to have the atmosphere of a police station, prison or court, governed by strict rules and strict protocols.
How can churches be like infusion centers? The author of Hebrews wrote, “…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water…let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:19-25) When one becomes an active part of a local church by serving others, one's very presence and actions infuses hope into the hearts of people and according to Jesus' words in John 15:13 there is no greater love than this.
Clayton Adams is pastor at Earle First Assembly of God. You can e- mail him at cpalaa@ yahoo. com, or find Earle First Assembly on Facebook.
AWord from the Pastor By Clayton Adams