Support Groups

by | May 30, 2024 | Uncategorized

Tomorrow, May 31, we will have a unique convergence of two significant events. The church commemorates the Visit of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56), a momentous occasion in our faith. It also happens to be the birthday of my eldest daughter, Victoria. In my heart, these two observances have been intertwined for more than four years, creating a personal and spiritual connection that I am eager to share with you all.

More than two thousand years ago, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to bear the Christ child and added that her relative, Elizabeth, who was of old age, had also conceived a son and was six months pregnant. This biblical story took on a unique resonance in my family in 2019, when Victoria and her younger sister, Kerri Lynn, were pregnant at the same time. While not identical, the parallels between these two sets of women are a testament to the timeless and universal nature of the human experience.

Mary was eager to visit Elizabeth to share the synchronicity of their situations. The gift of relationship, trust, and empathy allowed the women to nurture and support one another with honesty and understanding as they underwent similar experiences. I, too, had the opportunity to witness my daughters lean on one another, share anxieties, express hope for the future, and share intimate questions and concerns that only their special bond would allow. I suspect many conversations between Mary and Elizabeth were similar to the ones my daughters held during their pre-natal stages.

The human condition requires emotional support. God has connected us so that we may collaboratively grow and thrive. Our health depends upon sharing our dreams, fears, and uncertainties with others. That dialogue permits us to gain perspectives, understanding and clarity in dealing with issues that confront our daily lives. Thanks to the relationships that God has gifted us, we have trusted souls to turn to for advice and wisdom. Our support mechanisms may come in the form of families, friends, colleagues, or intentional support groups. We are blessed to have personal sources of honesty, integrity, and trust that help us during times of need.

As Christ’s representative, the church’s calling is to be a place of comfort and support for fellow human beings. Do we – the church – present ourselves as a sanctuary of trust and a place of welcome? Mary turned to Elizabeth. My daughters turned to each other. Are we comfortable turning to one another? Are we comfortable inviting others to turn to us for support? (For me, considering my health scare this past Sunday, based on the congregation’s outreach and prayers, is indeed so! Thank you!)

Let’s support each other this Sunday, June 2, and gather for worship at 9:30 AM. Additionally, following worship, we will hold a congregation meeting to elect new members of our congregation council and renew a diaconal call. We invite you to our “support group” at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 36 East John Street, Lindenhurst. A copy of the worship bulletin is attached.
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Blessings,
Pastor Marc

Rev. Marc Herbst
Pastor
St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
36 East John Street
Lindenhurst, NY 11757