Today's readings are Psalm 41.1-3, 11-13, Exodus 40.17-38, and Luke 8.40-56.
Several times in recent months people have told me that pastors don't seem to want to visit people any more. Maybe I'm naive. This has been news to me. It never crossed my mind not to go to visit people who couldn't make it to corporate worship. For that matter, it never crossed my mind that a pastor wouldn't be visiting people who were regularly attending worship. In our reading from Luke 8 today we see the kind of thing that can happen when Jesus goes visiting. On the way to visit a sick child, Jesus kind of incidentally heals a chronically ill woman. While he is going, he also hears that the girl has died. Yet when Jesus arrives, he raises the girl to life again.
Now if I come to visit you and you have died, well, I don't suppose you will be hoping I will raise you from the dead. Maybe your relatives will hope that. But don't be surprised if nothing happens. Yet I do know that our Lord and Savior sends his servants bearing his Word which is powerful. We come to visit in the power of the Holy Spirit, who will comfort and guide Christians into all truth. We bring Christ and his answers to the situations we confront. That's the pastor's job. That's the gift God gives his pastors. It's important that we come and visit the saints with God's word. For that matter, visitation is probably more important than any of the other tasks I can do as a pastor. There are plenty of people who are fine preachers and probably write sermons that are as good or better than mine. We could always buy those and read them. By the power of the internet we could probably be spectators in a very dynamic worship service and then take in a bang-up sermon from whatever source interests us. But it's the local pastor who is going to come and talk with the saints, to visit them, to hold their hands at a rough time and pray for them. It's the local pastor who is going to bring Christ and his answers to the specific situation we are facing today. This is critical. Let's get busy about it.