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What Do You Need?

We’ve had the privilege of hearing some amazing and heartfelt stories over the last couple of weeks. This week we will hear more as we explore the next question in our series – what do you need? This week’s question recognises that we all have needs and that we need each other. It reminds us that we each have unique needs; and that we can’t assume to know what is best for others. It also prompts us to reflect on our own needs, priorities, and desires, which can sometimes be difficult to discern from one situation to the next. As we look at our readings for this week we see that in the midst of Job’s afflictions, three of his friends promptly leave their homes and come to him. They tear their garments, weep loudly, and sit with him for seven days, saying nothing. Their response is the ministry of presence, of true solidarity, of seeing his excruciating pain and joining him there. This ministry doesn’t come naturally to us. Most of the time we want to fix the problem, find the solution rather than sit in the silence of grief, loss, emptiness or abandonment. Beaten and imprisoned, Paul writes to Timothy with a simple request: “Come quickly.” He lists those who abandoned him, but says, “I hope that God doesn’t hold it against them!” In his greatest moment of need, Paul doesn’t need revenge, but instead asks for companionship. In essence, this is what we all need—for someone to come quickly, to gather the items we want, and to simply show up. But there are times when we can’t put that need into words. These are the times when that ministry of presence needs to be exercised. At this time, lockdown restricted and pandemic seeming to rule our lives, it is really hard to have a ministry of presence. We might not be able to be with someone in need, but we can still connect with them. A phone call, a card that is posted or dropped in a letterbox, a text or even some flowers or food left on the front doorstep are all important physical things we can do. There are also spiritual things that we can do. A prayer that is said when that person comes to mind, a candle that is lit to symbolise connection to those who need a connection just now. These will not necessarily fix the problem or the need, but they will connect us with others.

Jay Robinson

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