A while back, I don’t remember exactly how long, while I was visiting a parishioner in the hospital, I noticed that she had a small item from home on her bedside table. It consisted of a block of wood with the name Jesus on it in such a way that it took me a moment to figure out what it said. It was a small item that had obviously been brought from home for the comfort it gave her. I thought that it would be a good idea of have some small token like that to hand out to those who were hospitalized and shut-ins.
Going further back to Annual Conference last year there was a booth by Holy Land Gifts (www.Holyland-Gifts.com). From them, I had purchased a “comfort cross” made of olive wood by Christians living in Bethlehem. I’ve long been concerned about Christians living in the Holy Land (they’re caught in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute) and this seemed a great way to support them. It occurred to me that comfort crosses were just the thing for shut-ins and hospital patients and they have the added benefit of supporting hard-pressed Christians.
The vision team approved the purchase of 20 comfort crosses. I’ve been handing them out, telling the backstory, and making it clear that the cross is not a gift from me personally, but a gift from the whole church collectively. I’ve told the recipients that the cross is meant to be a tangible reminder to them of their church’s love for them. The response has been overwhelming. I’ve yet to hand one out without the recipient being profoundly touched. This is a small project, but it has meant a great deal to some very special people, and I wanted you to know about the good being done on your behalf.